Labour hold City of Chester in first by-election test for Rishi Sunak

Report by Granada Reports Political Correspondent Líse McNally

Labour's Samantha Dixon has been elected as the new MP for the City of Chester as the party retained their seat.

The by-election, which is the first vote since Rishi Sunak entered No.10, was triggered after Labour MP Christian Matheson resigned after complaints of "serious sexual misconduct" were upheld by a parliamentary watchdog.

Labour was defending a majority of of 6,164 (49.6% of the vote)

Although turnout was low, the party significantly increased their majority to a share of 61.2%

The new MP, Samantha Dixon, was a local councillor and former leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council.

In a victory speech after the result was announced, Ms Dixon raised the issue of the cost of living, saying: "People in Chester and across our country are really worried.

Samantha Dixon says people are "worried about the cost of living"

"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.

"This is the cost of 12 years of Conservative Government. The Government, which has wreaked havoc with our economy, destroyed our public services and betrayed the people who put their trust in them at the last general election."

Election officials confirmed that turnout was 41.2%, with a total of 28,541 votes cast in the December poll.

Labour re-won the seat with a 10,974 vote majority. Credit: PA

Labour hailed the result as one that sent a “clear message” to Mr Sunak and his government.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Huge congratulations to Samantha Dixon who will be an excellent MP for City of Chester."The message to Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government is clear: People are fed up of 12 years of Tory rule and want the change Labour offers."

Labour Deputy Leader and Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner was in Chester and said the party was "very pleased" with the result.

"It was very clear when we were going on the doorstep that people are genuinely really concerned with the cost of living. That came up time and time again", she said.

"They're angry with the Conservatives who have crashed the economy, the sleaze that's engulfed them, the constant bickering, the not being able to get Britain moving again.

"Everyone feels like it's a constant backlog and they're damaging our economy and they're damaging people's prospects."

Ashton-under-Lyne MP and Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner

The Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions and MP for Wirral South, Alison McGovern echoed Angela Rayner's comments. She said: “After the Tories crashed our economy, it’s clear that only Labour can be trusted to help families across the country make ends meet."

“Sam will be an excellent MP for Chester and a strong voice for Chester residents in the Conservative cost of living crisis. The Tories have no mandate to govern. It's time for a Labour government."

Warrington MP Andy Carter

Andy Carter, Conservative MP for Warrington said: "We are two years away from the next general election, it's been a very busy summer.

"We know what we need to do is get on and deliver for the British people."

Rob Herd, Lib Dems candidate

Reacting to the by-election results, Rob Herd, representing the Liberal Democrats, said he was "really happy" that his party increased their vote share.

Mr Herd said: "I think one of the big things that has come out of this evening is that the Tory vote has just crumbled away.

"I think it's really clear that the nation needs a general election."

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