Labour Win Chester By-Election With Significantly Increased Majority
Samantha Dixon increased Labour's majority in the Chester seat
Labour have retained the City of Chester seat in a by-election, where Local councillor Samantha Dixon was elected after securing over 60 per cent of the votes.
Dixon gained 17,309 compared to 6,335 votes for the Conservative candidate, representing a 13.8% swing in the seat, which has been held by Labour since 2015. Dixon said the increase in Labour's vote would send a "clear message" to the Conservatives.
The by-election was triggered in October after former Labour MP Christian Matheson stepped down following allegations of sexual misconduct, which were upheld.
Conservative candidate Elizabeth Wardlaw, who works as a nurse and also represents the party in the local council, suffered a record defeat as her party secured just 22.4 per cent of the votes – the worst result for the party in the seat since 1832.
The by-election defeat follows months of chaos in the Conservative party, including the resignation of Liz Truss and the impact of the party's so-called mini-Budget on the economy.
"I don’t think that the voters in Chester are that much different from those across the country," Dixon said in her victory speech on Friday morning.
"I think that it’s time now for a general election and I think Labour will win as decisively as I have done today.
"People in Chester and across our country are really worried. Worried about losing their homes because they can’t afford the mortgage repayments or the rent, worried about whether they can put the heating on, worried about whether they can put food on the table for their families."
Responding to the result, Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted: "Sam will be a fantastic representative of her community, and as their MP would do the people of Chester proud."
The plunge in the Conservative vote share is likely to trigger concern in Downing Street as Rishi Sunak attempts to repair the party's reputation with voters ahead of next year's crunch local elections in May.
Despite Labour's 2019 election victory in the constituency, it has historically been a marginal seat, with the Conservatives taking the seat in 2010, before losing it again in 2015 by a margin of just 93 votes – the closest in the country at the time.
But Conservative MP Andy Carter played down the massive drop in Tory votes, saying: "This is a seat that has gone to Labour six times over the last seven elections. I’m not expecting that to change."
"We are mid-term in what has been an incredibly challenging parliamentary term on the back of Covid, a war in Ukraine where prices have shot up," he told The Telegraph.
"And you know, what I think is really, really critical now for this government is to ensure we deliver on the manifesto that we were elected on in 2019,” he said. “That’s our focus and I’m quite certain that’s the Prime Minister’s focus."
Nine candidates in total had stood in the election, including the Liberal Democrats, Ukip, Reform, and the Monster Raving Loony Party.
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