City of Chester

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22025 (43.1%)
Labour: 22118 (43.2%)
Lib Dem: 2870 (5.6%)
UKIP: 4148 (8.1%)
MAJORITY: 93 (0.2%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cheshire. Part of the Cheshire West and Chester council area.

Main population centres: Chester, Ledsham,Aldford, Eccleston.

Profile: Covers Chester itself and surrounding villages, running up to the border with Wales. Chester is a historic walled market town, which became an upmarket residential town for the upper classes fleeing the industrial sprawl of Manchester and Liverpool during the industrial revolution and, and like much of Cheshire, it remains a relatively affluent area. However, Labour support in housing estates like Blacon and Lache make Chester into a marginal seat..

Politics: Conservative for most of the twentieth century, Chester fell to Labour in the 1997 landslide, unseating the television celebrity Gyles Brandreth. It was briefly won by the Conservatives in 2010, but regained by Labour in 2015.

Current MP
CHRIS MATHESON (Labour) Educated at LSE. Former trade union officer. First elected as MP for Chester, City of in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18995 (41%)
Lab: 16412 (35%)
LDem: 8930 (19%)
UKIP: 1225 (3%)
Oth: 1228 (3%)
MAJ: 2583 (6%)
Con: 16543 (37%)
Lab: 17458 (39%)
LDem: 9818 (22%)
UKIP: 776 (2%)
Oth: 308 (1%)
MAJ: 915 (2%)
Con: 14866 (33%)
Lab: 21760 (48%)
LDem: 6589 (15%)
UKIP: 899 (2%)
Oth: 763 (2%)
MAJ: 6894 (15%)
Con: 19253 (34%)
Lab: 29806 (53%)
LDem: 5353 (10%)
Oth: 358 (1%)
MAJ: 10553 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
STEPHEN MOSLEY (Conservative) Born 1972, Solihull. Educated at King Edwards School and Nottingham University. IT consultant. Chester City councillor 2000-2009, Cheshire county councillor 2005-2009. MP for City of Chester 2010 to 2015.
CHRIS MATHESON (Labour) Educated at LSE. Trade union officer.
BOB THOMPSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1956, Chester. Educated at Nottingham University. Retired HR director. Chester councillor 2002-2009, Cheshire West and Chester councillor since 2008. Contested Eddisbury 2010.
Comments - 273 Responses on “Chester, City of”
  1. There is probably a way of using woody biomass instead of coal as your carbon source (which may involve some conversion processes rather than simply using the wood as is). The industry needs to be given the financial incentive (positive or negative) to research a way of doing it.

  2. I think this will be a Tory gain.

  3. Not convinced personally.

    Cestrian, if you still lurk here, I am preparing to eat humble pie.

  4. I think Labour will hold this with a four figure majority. I’ve not heard good noises.

  5. YouGov and Lord Ashcroft have this down as a Labour hold

  6. I’ve been hearing very good things about Labs chances here, at the end of the day I think the majority might just be too small for Matheson to hold on against the tide but if the Tories win I think it more likely than not with a small 3 figure majority.

  7. Interesting.

    The BBC NW Tonight piece on Chester wasn’t particularly illuminating – other than flagging up how close the race was here last time – I was amused by how posh the Labour activists were who were interviewed. Maybe they were students from down South, although I have met a couple from Chester who you’d never guess live in the North of England.

  8. PT, don’t fret, I did not give up posting because you accused me of electioneering, (I DID post an anti Tory rant), but because it was becoming a waste of time. Up against ‘know it alls’ with at a distance denials of the blatently obvious to anybody with the slightest knowledge of psephology, that Chester was politically very different from the city that voted Tory even in 1966.

    My visit is motivated by my discovery that this site is run by a senior figure at You Gov, and I just wanted to say how impressed I was by the You Gov polling, particularly the constituency estimates that I discovered in the final ten days of the election (a tweet of 140 characters would hardly do it justice). I nearly spat my coffee out when I read your prediction for Canterbury. I hoped you were right of course but found it hard to believe, but low and behold you were spot on! Brillient!

    As for my own posts on here , I now regret my pessimism. I read the polls and the bookies odds for the Chester seat, and knew that they went against all the anecdotal evidence I found locally. Chats in pubs, at work and most of all, posters in windows/gardens. Tory posters were as rare as hens teeth, I saw just one, and that was on my walk to vote, Labour posters were all around. So I meekly wrote that the Tories may win but only narrowly. In my defence that was pre Labour”s inspiring manifesto, the game changer. I fully expected a Labour surge, though not as strong as what they actually got, because the Straw Man caricature kicked around by MSM was so obviously false.

    Chester was number one on the Tory gain list, it is now number 100! A 93 majority has become 9176, The majority is slightly lower than 1997 (10551) but Labour share of the vote was higher at 56.8%, it was 53.0% in 1997, and the Matheson vote of 32023 was the highest any candidate of ANY party has ever polled in Chester. To put the change is in even more stark relief, in 2015 Ukip polled 4148 but in 2017 they did not stand and yet the Tory vote still dropped 2.6%!

    My analysis of why Chester has changed left out greater Merseyside regional factor, as former Tory inclined areas Wirral south and west , Sefton Central(Crosby) have all moved left, and I expect Southport to be next in line. They will be close at the GE I expect later this year.

    For those that still question my analysis explain these Chester GE figures
    1966 Lab landslide Tory maj 2803
    1974 Wilson wins Feb Tory maj 6768 Oct 4618

    It was the 1992 election that first revealed concrete evidence of the changes I discribe , a Tory Maj of 1101 LESS than HALF that in 1966! In the early 1990s the Tories had zero councillors in urban wards on the old Chester City Council for a time, unheard of in the citys history. I could go on but stoney ground etc…

    Anyway, great work by You Gov !

  9. Chris Matheson had a brilliant result here. He is taking nothing for granted though- he said at his count in his acceptance speech that he was not going to be triumphalist about it because it wasn’t in his nature. That suggests to me that he and the local Labour Party will sensibly continue to treat this as a marginal seat.

  10. Well, yes – I was a little surprised by Labour increasing its majority here so significantly, but at the same time, it’s not that surprising, considering the demographics of Chester. It seems similar to York.

  11. It’s not just that the demographics of Chester are moving towards the Labour Party – in addition, the demographics of the Labour Party are moving towards places like Chester.

  12. And BTW Cestrian, apologies for being a tool and congratulations on a tremendous campaign.

  13. Probably a combination of the demographic change and the national situation. Also Stephen Mosley had incumbency when he lost last time, which must have reduced the potential for a further Tory vote share increase…

  14. But as I’ve pointed out on other threads, Labour achieved some big swings in quite unexpected places too, especially in the South. So the 8% swing here was matched in Bournemouth West and in Wycombe, and exceeded in several Cornish seats.

  15. Like Cestrian I very much regret not sticking my neck out and calling this for Lab. When I visited (both casually and for campaigning) it just didn’t feel like Matheson was in danger in the slightest, the seat felt very “Labour” If that makes sense.

    In the end though I brushed it off as inaccurate anecdotal information plus I didn’t want to come under flak for making a controversial call against the grain, we live and learn though.

  16. Incumbency always tends to be quite a powerful weapon in an MP’s armoury as well of course- even without the strange national swing I think Matheson could still have held on to this.

  17. POLLTROLL No need to appologise, I posted a provocative post attacking Tory policies and that clearly broke site rules. Though it was not proper electioneering as I did not promote any other party.Though my support for Labour was obvious! As I said I’m not a member of any party but I did use twitter heavily to campaign for Corbyn’s Labour.

    Re: Incumbency. Matheson did benefit greatly from this, but also from anti fracking in usually Tory Upton ward, City being a remain city and a huge student turn out this time, I was out in the pubs in town election night and they were buzzing following the 10pm exit poll. None of the above can fully explain the fall in the Tory share of the vote, quite astounding when 4148 Ukip votes were up for grabs after they stood down to give the Tories a clear run. Clearly a posh ex Kings School pupil brough back from the capital (bet he goes back!) was not to the citys taste.

    Previous recent MPs had very little discernable incumency vote, Moseley(Con), Russell(Lab), Brandreth(con) and Morrison(Con) won/lost on local/national swings, and none seem to connect with the Chester public in the way Chris Matheson does.

  18. Intresting. Matt Hancock up here campaigning despite the Tories being 10 points behind in the MRP for this seat and plenty of other targets nearby (Ahead in Warrington South and Wrexham, ties in Weaver Vale and Alyn and Deeside, behind but closer in the Wirral seats.)

  19. Certainly this one seems a bit beyond the this time around. Is this one of the places the Tories are building a new hospital? Maybe Hancock’s there for that sort of thing?

  20. The Hospital here famously blocked Welsh Patients for a time a while back but I don’t believe it’s being rebuilt.

  21. I assume it’s just because Hancock went to school here.

  22. This is my neighbouring constituency – lots and lots of Labour garden stakes and a very well respected MP in Chris Matheson. Another seat where the Tories have parachuted in somebody with no connections to the seat and that isn’t helping them. I expect to see Labour hold this fairly easily.

  23. That’s my thinking. Fair chance Labour will totally out in Stoke but hold Chester.

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