Much of the city of Chester itself is residential of varying characteristics, with more middle-class areas such as Upton and the large rural former council estate of Blacon which is, except where purchased under the right to buy; owned and managed by the local housing association, Chester And District Housing Trust.
Under the Representation of the People Act 1918, the parliamentary borough was abolished and replaced by a county division, gaining rural areas from the neighbouring constituencies of Eddisbury and Wirral. Since then, the boundaries of the constituency have remained relatively consistent, primarily reflecting changes in local authority and ward boundaries.
1950–1974: As prior but with minor boundary changes to align with the revised boundaries of the Rural District of Chester.
1974–1983: The County Borough of Chester, and the Rural District of Chester.
Hoole Urban District had been absorbed by the County Borough of Chester in 1954, but the constituency boundaries remained unchanged.
1983–1997: The City of Chester wards of Blacon Hall, Boughton, Boughton Heath, Christleton, College, Curzon, Dee Point, Dodleston, Grosvenor, Hoole, Newton, Plas Newton, Sealand, Upton Grange, Upton Heath, Vicars Cross, and Westminster.
1997–2010: The City of Chester wards of Blacon Hall, Boughton, Boughton Heath, Christledon, College, Curzon, Dee Point, Dodleston, Grosvenor, Hoole, Mollington, Newton, Plas Newton, Saughall, Sealand, Upton Grange, Upton Heath, Vicars Cross, and Westminster.
The wards of Mollington and Saughall transferred back from Ellesmere Port and Neston.
2010–2019: The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007 defined the boundaries as:
The City of Chester wards of Blacon Hall, Blacon Lodge, Boughton, Boughton Heath, Christleton, City and St Anne's, College, Curzon and Westminster, Dodleston, Handbridge and St Mary's, Hoole All Saints, Hoole Groves, Huntington, Lache Park, Mollington, Newton Brook, Newton St Michael's, Saughall, Upton Grange, Upton Westlea, and Vicars Cross.
Minor changes to reflect revised ward boundaries.
However, before the new boundaries came into force for the 2010 election, the districts making up the county of Cheshire were abolished on 1 April 2009, being replaced by four unitary authorities. Consequently, the constituency's boundaries became:
The Cheshire West and Chester wards of Blacon, Boughton, Chester City, Chester Villages (part), Dodleston and Huntington, Farndon (part), Garden Quarter, Great Boughton, Handbridge Park, Hoole, Lache, Little Neston and Burton, Newton, Saughall and Mollington, and Upton.
2019–present: Following a further local government ward boundary review in 2019, the boundaries are currently:
The Cheshire West and Chester wards of Central and Blacon, Chester City & the Garden Quarter, Christleton & Huntington (part), Farndon (part), Gowy Rural (part), Great Boughton, Handbridge Park, Lache, Newton & Hoole, Saughall and Mollington, and Upton.
From 1715 to 1869, at least one of the two seats was held by a member of the Grosvenor family. For most of the nineteenth century, both MPs represented the Whigs and (later) the Liberals. The Conservatives held one of the two seats from 1859 to 1865 and 1868–1880.
The Liberals won the single-member seat in 1885 but, apart from the landslide year of 1906 (won by the Liberals with a majority of just 47 votes), Chester returned Conservative Party MPs continuously from 1886 to 1997. At most elections, majorities were in relative terms medium but the party's MPs won marginal majorities at the 1929 general election over the Liberal candidate (when the Labour Party formed a minority government) and at the 1992 general election over the Labour candidate, when the Conservatives had a small parliamentary majority.
Stephen Mosley of the Conservatives gained the seat from Labour at the 2010 general election. However, Mosley narrowly lost his seat five years later to Chris Matheson of the Labour Party in 2015 by 93 votes. The 2015 general election result gave the constituency the most marginal majority (0.2%) of Labour's 232 seats won that year.
Matheson was re-elected at the 2017 general election with a significantly increased majority of 9,176 votes, one of the largest swings to Labour in the election. At 56.8%, it was the highest share of the vote that Labour has ever had in the constituency and it is no longer considered a marginal seat. At the 2019 election, Matheson was elected once again, with a reduced but still comfortable majority of 11.3%. On 21 October 2022 he resigned after allegations of sexual impropriety led him to be suspended from the House of Commons for four weeks, occasioning a by-election held on 1 December, which was won by Samantha Dixon with an increased majority for Labour.
^Four of the six candidates at the 2010 general election had contested the seat previously; Christine Russell (1997, 2001, 2005); Allan Weddell (2001, 2005); Ed Abrahms (2005) and Tom Barker (1992). All candidates had contested at least one election for local authorities for wards inside the constituency. The Liberal Democrats including their two predecessor parties amassed their largest share of the vote in 2005 at 21.9% of the vote.
^ abLewis, C. P.; Thacker, A. T., eds. (2003). "Late Georgian and Victorian Chester 1762-1914: Politics, 1835-1914". A History of the County of Chester. Vol. 5. London: Victoria County History. pp. 166–171. Retrieved 27 April 2018.