Rochester & Strood

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23142 (44.1%)
Labour: 10396 (19.8%)
Lib Dem: 1251 (2.4%)
Green: 1516 (2.9%)
UKIP: 16009 (30.5%)
TUSC: 202 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 7133 (13.6%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. Part of the Medway council area.

Main population centres: Rochester, Strood, Grain, Hoo St Werburgh, Halling.

Profile: A largely industrial seat in the conurbation of Medway in Kent. Rochester and Strood is geographically the largest of the Medway seats, taking in not just Rochester and Strood themselves but also the expanse of the Hoo peninsula between the estuaries of the Thames and Medway. The peninsula and the Isle of Grain are largely marshland, an important site for wild birds, and are often cited as possible locations for a Thames Estuary airport. The south of the peninsula is industrial, and includes a major container port, a gas import plant and two power stations. The urban part of the seat is the western part of Medway, with Strood to the west of the river and Rochester to the east. Rochester is a historic city of strategic importance on the Medway (hence the presence of Rochester Castle and various Napoleonic Forts built to protect Chatham dockyard), it is also the second oldest Bishopric in England. As is the case across North Kent there is significant redevelopment in progress, with thousands of new houses being planned along the river medway waterfront. The village of Borstal in the West of Rochester was the site of the original borstal and still hosts HMP Rochester. The constituency also stretches south to take in Cuxton and Halling, a former chalk mining village that is now largely a commuter area.


Current MP
KELLY TOLHURST (Conservative) Former businesswoman and marine surveyor. Medway councillor since 2011. Contested Rochester and Strood by-election 2014. First elected as MP for Rochester & Strood in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 23604 (49%)
Lab: 13651 (28%)
LDem: 7800 (16%)
GRN: 734 (2%)
Oth: 2182 (5%)
MAJ: 9953 (21%)
Con: 17120 (42%)
Lab: 17333 (42%)
LDem: 5152 (13%)
UKIP: 1488 (4%)
MAJ: 213 (1%)
Con: 15134 (39%)
Lab: 18914 (49%)
LDem: 3604 (9%)
UKIP: 958 (2%)
MAJ: 3780 (10%)
Con: 16504 (37%)
Lab: 21858 (49%)
LDem: 4555 (10%)
Oth: 405 (1%)
MAJ: 5354 (12%)

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

2015 Candidates
KELLY TOLHURST (Conservative) Businesswoman and marine surveyor. Medway councillor since 2011. Contested Rochester and Strood by-election 2014.
NAUSHABAH KHAN (Labour) Educated at Fort Pitt Grammar and Birmingham University. PR consultant.
PRUE BRAY (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Manchester University. Wokingham councillor since 2000. Contested Wokingham 2005, 2010.
MARK RECKLESS (UKIP) Born 1970. Educated at Oxford University. Barrister and banker. Medway councillor 2007-2011. Contested Medway 2001, 2005. MP for Rochester and Strood 2010 to 2015. Defected to UKIP in 2014 and won the subsequent by-election.
CLIVE GREGORY (Green) Musician and sound engineer. Rochester and Strood by-election 2014.
Comments - 728 Responses on “Rochester & Strood”
  1. Well the fact that it was printed in the Daily Mail doesn’t inspire confidence – and I note that there are no numbers, just a reference to Reckless being “narrowly behind” Kelly Tolhurst.

    Certainly if Tolhurst does win, a few contributors to this site will owe her an apology.

  2. I think the previous leak in Thanet was also to the Mail. Could be they have a mole feeding them info, not something you could do to a more cohesive established party.

  3. Joe has it I think. Labour effectively gave up on this seat, although they have a very good candidate, in the by election. That was an error in my view then, as whilst they would not have won it they should have fought it properly to show they can compete in these sort of seats still.

    Given that it’s hard as Joe and the Results say to see Labour getting much over 20% on 7th May. What happens to the pre by election Labour vote is they key.

    I remain of the view as expressed way back the Tories will win this back just. The only reason I am hesitant is that Reckless as others have said on the stats may have more of a personal vote than assumed (though clearly not comparable to Carswell’s). Also when I speak to people in the Tory party they remain concerned that Tolhurst is a weak candidate who may cost them.

  4. I think Reckless is being consistently underestimated here.

  5. Same here. I’ve always taken the view that he could sneak back in here quietly underneath the radar of a lot of people.

  6. The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards a Tory hold here. Despite Tolhurst being a weak candidate I just can’t see the UKIP vote holding up in a General Election. Even Farage admitted that the Tory vote in Rochester town centre and the surrounding residential area held up very well.

  7. There were 12000 people who did NOT vote in the BE.

    A poll showing UKIP “trailing” (even narrowly) must have been a bombshell to Reckless. His face must look as miserable now as it did at the declaration – while Tolhurst’ s ‘boat’ must be beaming away as it did on that night.

    Quite a few more % of these will vote CON than will UKIP. UKIP will lose 6-8% share from the BE – and CON will go up 5-8% giving CON a win by 4-9%. As I have been saying since November.

  8. Gosh what a pleasure to be able to agree with Deepthroat for a change.

    Incidentally did anyone notice that Reckless was absent from the manifesto launch yesterday. Apparently UKIP – ologists are speculating that , like so many party members before, that he has become a persona non grata in Nigel’s eyes.

  9. for once, l too agree with him. l would be surprised if Reckless gets in again, despite the perceived weakness of the Tory candidate. Candidates aren’t everything.

  10. Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate from Eltham in South London with
    Sadiq Khan for Labour,
    Mark Reckless for UKIP,
    the Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss,
    and Humza Yousaf the Minister for Europe and International Development in the Scottish Government.

  11. StephenPt – Reckless was in the BBC spin room with Nuttall after the Opposition Leaders’ debate. UKIP are 4/6 in Thurrock, Thanet S and Evens to win Boston & Skegness, Castle Point and here (Ladbrokes).

  12. Reckon this is going to be tight. Like sub-600 votes between Ukip and the Tories tight. Leaning towards a Ukip hold, Reckless since the byelection seems to have been v.actively locally.

  13. No, not IM(H)O;
    UKIP will lose 6-8% share from the BE – and CON will go up 5-8% giving CON a win by 4-9%.

  14. Despite in no way being a kipper sympathiser I kind of hope Reckless holds here. The Tory candidate is pretty poor and I think we need a better range of voices in Parliament.

  15. I hope Reckless holds but despite the Tories having an awful candidate I now accept Deepthroat is probably right on this. UKIP look like they could easily go sub 10% on vote share now and that will make it very hard for them in almost all of their targets.

  16. Well, we seem to have a consensus – rather looks like the 8/11 on Tolhurst might be good value.

    I’ll be legging down to Wm Hills tomorrow morning.

    But seriously, I take POTTER’s contemplative message – that UKIP (& the country) deserve a bigger representation than one or two seats.

  17. I agree and I would say that for the Greens as well.

  18. I almost feel as though Reckless deserves to narrowly hold on here and do a Michael Forsyth against all the odds and potentially be one of maybe four UKIP MPs after May, but alas the consensus on this site appears to be firmly against my own view.

  19. UKIP will be extremely lucky to get 4 seats IMO. I’d guess they’ll get Clacton and perhaps Farage will scrape in. Can’t see more than 50% likelihood of more seats than those two.

  20. Boston and Skegness?

  21. Prediction:
    Conservative: 39%
    UKIP: 28%
    Labour: 22%
    Liberal Democrat: 5%
    Green: 4%
    Others: 2%

    Definite return to the Tories

  22. 3.5 UKIP seats is the current fav median point with Ladbrokes.

  23. Half a seat? LOL!

  24. The Results- I wonder which half of Nigel we will get as an MP.

    On second thoughts…I don’t want to think about it.

  25. Maybe South East Thanet will go to Farage..

  26. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde HA HA

  27. Straw phone Poll I carried out


  28. Who did you poll? Your Mum and your Uncle Nobby?

  29. LOL!

  30. I hope this spam gets deleted.

  31. It’s been going on for a week now…

  32. Page 9, today’s Times:

    “A senior Labour figure has distanced himself from a UKIP candidate after appearing to have endorsed his campaign.

    Keith Vaz features on an election leaflet for Mark Reckless. Mr Vaz is quoted as saying “Mark is one of my closest friends in parliament. You are lucky to have him.” Endorsing a candidate from a rival party is a breach of Labour Party rules.”

  33. The poll one we’ve all been waiting for: (no disrspect to PAUL W)

    ASHCROFT: “…a bit busy today!! However should get some marginal seat polling out today including Rochester & Strood.” 14.52: 24/4/15

    What do you think it’s gonna say?

  34. My guess is

  35. Deepthroat: I would guess Tories ahead by about five points. The hype levels surrounding UKIP at the time of the by-election have since dropped significantly.

  36. Well whatever CON total it reveals, one can be forgiven for thinking they’ll do a few % points better – the last ASHCROFT poll just before the by election gave UKIP a 12% lead but as we know, it turned out to be just a 7% win for them.




    CON were 4/6 with Bookies last night. Betting suspended.

  38. Wouldn’t have thought that those numbers would impact on the odds much.

  39. Deepthroat seems to have called this one accurately, judging by the Ashcroft poll.

  40. Simon:
    CORALs first to react:
    CON now 8/15

  41. My prediction goes against all the evidence-
    Reckless (UKIP)- 36%
    Tolhurst (Conservative)- 35.5%
    Khan (Labour)- 22%
    Gregory (Green)- 4%
    Bray (Lib Dem)- 2%
    Burn (TUSC)- 0.5%

  42. Personally I don’t think a 3% lead is conclusive evidence of anything with plenty of time still to go. Still all to play for.

  43. Thanks Andy. I will make my own personal predictions even if they go against what current polling may suggest.

  44. Pretty good result for Naushabah Khan relative to the by-election. Any anti-UKIP tactical voting from her supporters though and Reckless is finished.

  45. Would Labour rather work on increasing their vote share here, allowing the Tories to take this seat back as a result?

  46. 22% is a good enough third place that they really ought to shore it up, even if they won’t win. It’s by no means unwinnable in future.

  47. Is it possible that there may be an anti-Tollhurst vote here? I mean we know about anti-UKIP sentiments, but Reckless seems to have some credit as an MP (considering the candidates standing put him up 3% ). It’s recoverable for Mark Reckless and I still wouldn’t be surprised if he held on.

  48. Same here. I too think contrary to the majority consensus on here like yourself that Reckless hasn’t lost all hope here yet. I think though if he does win again it will only be a very narrow victory however. But given he has the incumbency and name recognition locally on his side alone, that could well help him to do a good deal better than many people are in fact forecasting.

  49. Yes, MR may win. No one can be very confident of a any party winning here.
    But as Lord Ashcroft writes, people are reverting to type:
    “…Most arrestingly… I found the Tories on course to take back Rochester & Strood. There was a hint that such a result might be possible when I polled the seat before the by-election last November that gave UKIP their second elected MP. Uncannily, 36 per cent of voters in the constituency said at that time that they would probably vote Conservative at the general election, exactly the proportion that said the same in my new poll, while less than three quarters of UKIP by-election voters said they expected to stay with the party. A majority of voters in the seat said they wanted to see the Conservatives in government, including 37 per cent who wanted an overall Tory majority, and 63 per cent said they preferred Cameron to Miliband – suggesting many are treating the by-election and the general election as very separate exercises.

    Notably, though, the Tories’ seven-point lead in the standard voting intention question narrows to three – well within the margin of error – when respondents were asked to think about their own constituency and the candidates likely to stand there. The ground war also looks very closely fought, with more than three quarters saying they had heard locally from both UKIP and the Tories…”

  50. I wouldn’t back the Tories at 8/15. That seems pretty short for a three point lead against an incumbent with some sort of personal vote.

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