The U.K.’s Conservative party was dealt a significant blow by Labour in a byelection in the City of Chester parliamentary constituency, the party’s first electoral test since Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s appointment on October 25.
Labour’s Samantha Dixon, a local government Councillor, secured just above 61% of the vote, versus NHS nurse and Conservative candidate Liz Wardlaw’s 22.4% . The Lib Dem candidate, Rob Herd, secured 8.37% of the vote. The Tory vote share fell from 38% in the previous election in 2019, while Labour saw a 13.76 % swing towards it . The parliamentary seat had become vacant after Labour’s Chris Matheson resigned after a House of Commons panel found he had engaged in sexual misconduct with a junior staffer.
“They [ Chester voters ] are angry with the Conservatives who have crashed the economy …the sleaze that has engulfed them, the constant bickering and not being able to get Britain moving again,” Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told the BBC.
The Conservatives have been in power since 2010 and Rishi Sunak is the fifth consecutive Tory Prime Minister, who was appointed after his predecessor Liz Truss, resigned weeks after she came to office, following a ‘mini budget’ that was rejected by the markets. The U.K. faces the highest inflation it has seen in over four decades, a cost of living crisis, and the beginnings of a recession.