Sir Keir Starmer says by-election result shows public are 'FED UP' with the Tories
The party held on to the seat with a majority of 10,974, delivering a defeat to Rishi Sunak in his first electoral test as Prime Minister
Sir Keir Starmer has hailed Labour’s by-election victory in the City of Chester, claiming it demonstrates the public are “fed up” with the Tory Government.
The party held on to the seat with a majority of 10,974, delivering a defeat to Rishi Sunak in his first electoral test as Prime Minister.
Labour took more than 61% of the vote, up from 50% at the last general election, albeit with a far smaller turnout.
Sir Keir sent “huge congratulations” to winner Samantha Dixon, who he said will be an “excellent” MP.
“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,” he tweeted.
“It’s time for a Labour government.”
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The contest was triggered by the resignation of Christian Matheson, who quit his Commons seat after complaints of “serious sexual misconduct” were upheld by a parliamentary watchdog.
Mr Matheson, who denied the allegations, was facing a four-week suspension and was asked to resign by Labour before he stood down.
Ms Dixon defeated Conservative candidate and NHS nurse Liz Wardlaw in the first Westminster by-election since Boris Johnson’s dramatic exit and the market chaos that came to define Liz Truss’s short stint in No 10.
Labour said the result sends a “clear message” to Mr Sunak and his new administration.
In her victory speech, Ms Dixon said: “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.
“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.”
Labour had been widely expected to hold the seat, having won it in 2019 for the third time in a row with a majority of 6,164.
This time round, the party secured more than 61% of the vote and a 13.76% swing from the Tories.
The Chester result, which comes just over a month into Mr Sunak’s tenure as prime minister, is unlikely to be seen as a referendum on his leadership.
But it nonetheless comes as a blow to the party, which is facing an uphill battle to remain in office at the next nationwide poll.
The country is facing a gloomy outlook after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ushered in a fresh round of belt-tightening in the public finances in a bid to balance the books.
Households are struggling with sky-high living costs, while rail strikes and a planned walkout by nurses threaten to wreak havoc in the run-up to Christmas.
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