Gillingham & Rainham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22590 (48.1%)
Labour: 12060 (25.7%)
Lib Dem: 1707 (3.6%)
Green: 1133 (2.4%)
UKIP: 9199 (19.6%)
TUSC: 273 (0.6%)
Independent: 44 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 10530 (22.4%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent.

Main population centres:



Current MP
REHMAN CHISHTI (Conservative) Born 1978, Pakistan. Educated at Aberystwyth University. Former barrister and adviser to Francis Maude. Medway councillor since 2003. Contested Horsham 2005 for Labour before defecting to the Conservative party in March 2006. First elected as MP for Gillingham & Rainham in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 21624 (46%)
Lab: 12944 (28%)
LDem: 8484 (18%)
UKIP: 1515 (3%)
Oth: 2219 (5%)
MAJ: 8680 (19%)
Con: 18367 (41%)
Lab: 18621 (41%)
LDem: 6734 (15%)
UKIP: 1191 (3%)
Oth: 254 (1%)
MAJ: 254 (1%)
Con: 16510 (39%)
Lab: 18782 (44%)
LDem: 5755 (14%)
UKIP: 933 (2%)
Oth: 232 (1%)
MAJ: 2272 (5%)
Con: 18207 (36%)
Lab: 20187 (40%)
LDem: 9649 (19%)
Oth: 1148 (2%)
MAJ: 1980 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Gillingham

2015 Candidates
REHMAN CHISHTI (Conservative) See above.
PAUL CLARK (Labour) Born 1957, Gillingham. Educated at Gillingham Grammar School and Keele University. Political strategist and former trade union officer. Gillingham councillor 1982-1990. Contested Gillingham 1992. MP for Gillingham 1997-2010. Government whip 2003-2005, PPS to John Prescott 2005-2007, PPS to Ed Balls 2007-2008, Under-Secretary for Transport 2008-2010.
PAUL CHAPLIN (Liberal Democrat) Auditor.
MARK HANSON (UKIP) Born 1951, Isle of Man. Obstetrician.
MIKE WALTERS (No description) Born 1955, Buckinghamshire. Educated at Witney Grammar School and Preston Polytechnic. Bus driver. Contested Dover 2010, Eastleigh 2013 by-election for the English Democrats.
ROGER PEACOCK (No description)
Comments - 100 Responses on “Gillingham & Rainham”
  1. Labour have tonight selected Paul Clark as candidate.

  2. In that case, this is likely to be the most difficult seat in which a former MP tries to regain his or her former seat at the next election.

  3. Does anyone know the notional Tory majority in this seat going into 1997?

  4. I don’t think there was any boundary change here in 1997. The Tories were over 14,000 votes ahead of Labour in 1992, Labour essentially winning in 1997 largely because they had just scraped into 2nd place in 1992 – in, for example, High Wycombe, the fact that the LDs had just stayed in 2nd place in 1992 may just have saved the Tories from defeat in 1997, although the swing needed there was slightly larger. In fact, if I’m not mistaken Labour are still rather better off here than in 1992, though there have been boundary changes since.

  5. Well that’s why I asked, Barnaby. It seems unusual that Labour should be doing better in a Kent seat than they managed in 1992- not that I think there is any real prospect of a Labour victory in 2015 though.

  6. Prediction for 2015-
    Con- 43%
    Lab- 31%
    Lib Dem- 12%
    UKIP- 8%
    Others- 6%

  7. The Results – The UKIP results in your prediction are too low. I predict they will come third or even second here but they will certainly beat the Lib Dems.

  8. The former MP for Gillingham Paul Clark is standing again for Labour here. He was on the Sunday Politics today. My guess is that UKIP will push him into 3rd.

    This might be a dark horse seat for UKIP. Demographically I’m guessing it’s a more fruitful part of Medway for them than Rochester, whilst the Tory MP here is an unpopular Cameroon A-lister who used to be a Labour candidate.

  9. Does this look possible?
    Tory- 39%
    UKIP- 30%
    Labour- 24%
    Lib Dem- 5%
    Green- 2%

  10. I think anything’s possible in UKIP’s top 20 or so targets.

  11. Iirc it voted pretty similarly to Rochester in the Europeans.

  12. ‘the Tory MP here is an unpopular Cameroon A-lister who used to be a Labour candidate’

    Is he that unpopular? He was elected pretty comfortably in 2010, and was a local candidate (he was on the council before he was an MP and actually remains on the council I believe).

  13. I thought so. Could be one to watch if UKIP keep up the momentum, should be well within their sights at least.

  14. “Is he that unpopular? He was elected pretty comfortably in 2010, and was a local candidate (he was on the council before he was an MP and actually remains on the council I believe).”

    He’s the kind of incumbent Tory MP that UKIP will most like to stand against. As with Laura Sandys in Thanet.

  15. But the Lib Dems could still just keep their deposit here, from a slightly higher base last time, unlike in next-door Rochester which with the Reckless effect will probably see them struggle to reach 3% in May.

  16. If anything I’d expect Gillingham to be slightly better for UKIP than Rochester, but that doesn’t take account of Reckless being the MP.

  17. It probably would have been but for the Reckless situation in Rochester I think. Now with a combination of his personal vote added to their actual vote it looks a better bet now as a result. With him still the MP it’s easier for them to do better than here.

  18. I did raise the possibility of this seat being a potential UKIP gain a few months ago. If you look at the Medway European results for 2014 you will see why.

  19. Indeed. They could get close here and if they do they’ll probably be OK in Rochester at the general election in addition.

  20. It’s certainly going to be squeaky bum time for the two main parties in all of the less posh Kent and Essex constituencies on election night. UKIP could spring a surprise in almost any of them, although probably won’t win more than a few.

  21. I can see all of the Thames estuary being purple with the exception of the northern tip of Faversham and Mid Kent, which is probably a step too far for UKIP. Southend West would be pretty challenging for them too to be honest.

  22. Agreed. It’s all to play for now from UKIP’s point of view in these seats.

  23. Though there is another class of seat in southern England where UKIP will do well, but miles behind the Tories. Essentially replacing where the Lib Dems used to be in such seats.

    My own seat of Mid Sussex is a good example. Soames will get 45-50% of the vote as usual, with the Lib Dem vote collapsing to UKIP, who will perhaps come second on 20%.

    (there will be some churn from Con to UKIP and LD to Con)

    Result will be an increased Tory majority and a lot of wasted UKIP votes.

    Same story across the other richer seats of Kent & Sussex – Wealden, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells etc.

  24. “the Tory MP here is an unpopular Cameroon A-lister who used to be a Labour candidate.”

    H.Hemmelig – Do you mean Chisti is unpopular nationally or in this seat amongst his constituents.

  25. TheResults – you say that the LDs might keep their deposit here. In fact before the creation of the Medway unitary authority, Gillingham council had an overall LD majority. Hard to believe that today isn’t it.

  26. It is. If they successfully recoup their trusty £500 in May, that’ll make their night here.

  27. “Iirc it voted pretty similarly to Rochester in the Europeans”

    How do you know?

  28. I honestly think UKIP may scrape a win by about 50 votes here with the Tories second, Labour third and the Lib Dems losing their deposit.

    Anyone know how popular Chisthi is with his constituents?

  29. Apologies Pete. Clearly nonsense as they are both in Medway.

  30. Are there any Ashcroft polls for this seat?

  31. What has Mr, Chishti actually done as MP since 2010?

  32. This is going to become a reliable seat for the Tories in no time, although UKIP could emerge as their main competition (North Kent and all that).

  33. Frederic – Apart from reviewing the papers on Sky News once every two / three weeks, I don’t have a clue!

  34. Some of you may have seen the SOPN for this constituency re: the 2015 general election.

    Eight candidates are in place-one of them, Mike Walters, is actually an SDP member who forgot to put the description on his ballot paper. I am sure that this is also the same Mike Walters who stood as the English Democrats’ candidate in the Eastleigh by-election of 2013, obtaining a derisory 70 votes-maybe he will poll even worse here.

  35. Are the SDP standing any PPCs? I know there’s a few in the Locals.

  36. Yes, Lancs Observer-in Kingston upon Hull East (Val Hoodless) and in Birmingham Yardley (Peter Johnson).

  37. East Yorkshire- that old fiefdom of continuing SDP support post Owen.

  38. Document with all candidates on one page:

  39. a “fiefdom” implies some measure of success.

  40. My friend drove through this seat at the weekend and said there were seceral UKIP boards/posters displayed in windows and in front gardens. Can anyone who lives in or near this seat confirm this?

  41. Christian,

    I live in Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency and haven’t been through these areas recently but I will try and drive through all three Medway constituencies later today and provide some kind of update.

    Do you happen to know more precisely where your friend saw these?
    There is certainly a lot of UKIP posters in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

  42. Democracy – He wasn’t specific but he said there were several around the residential streets of both Rainham and in Gillingham too as well as Chatham.

  43. Did a quick scout round the area as intended this afternoon. Very inconclusive overall is how I feel.
    Only had a chance to visit very limited parts of each constituency.

    Rochester and Strood:

    Surprisingly few posters – a couple for the Tories and a few billboards for UKIP.

    Chatham and Aylesford:

    A few UKIP and Conservative billboards but no posters. However only went through a very small section of the constituency.

    Gillingham and Rainham;

    A lot of Tory posters and a surprisingly large number of Labour ones as well. Also aa few UKIP billboards.

    Sittingbourne and Sheppey:

    Quite a lot of UKIP posters and a couple of Tory.

    Overall it feels fairly dead to me but that is only my perception – probably not very accurate.

    Will try and update as the picture develops.

  44. Thanks for the update Democracy.

  45. Seriously, anyone who stood for Parliament for Labour in 2005 and Conservative in 2010 cannot be seen as anything other than opportunistic.

  46. An MP who’s an opportunist? Oh surely not. Are you sure there aren’t 600 more of them?

  47. Bizarrely, Chisti stood in Horsham of all places for Labour in 2005 against his future boss Francis Maude.

  48. Democracy – Which parts of Gillingham and Rainham did you see the Labour posters? Was it in Gillingham town centre? Rainham? Wigmore? Parkwood? etc It’d be good to know as I expected support for Labour in this part of the world to fall through the floor?

  49. I live in this constituency, feel free to ask any questions.

    Personal opinion, I think the reason Labour hasn’t collapsed totally here is partly to do with the individual candidate- Paul Clark is very much a presence in the area, not just at election time. It’s not at all unusual to bump into him in and around the High Street, particularly as he commutes by train, and he will stop and talk to people.

    Also not mentioned here, but possibly of some interest, is that the UKIP candidate, Mark Hanson, was in line for the candidacy in Rochester & Strood before Mark Reckless defected and prompted the by-election last election.

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