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. It’s wrong of many in the media (such as Evan Davis) to assume Labour voters hate UKIP as much as Labour activists do. Some would vote UKIP to stop the Tory winning. Although IMHO more likely in Skegness, Heywood, Dudley than here.

  2. “Is it possible that there may be an anti-Tollhurst vote here?”

    This sounds like a UKIP supporter grasping at straws.

    Tolhurst may not be a top rank candidate but theres no reason to anticipate tactical voting against her.

  3. It was a legitimate question. The “too close to call” nature of this seat means we have to take into account things that you might not expect. I repeat what I said last time , it would not be surprising for me if Mark Reckless held on. I make no secret of my UKIP membership and if you want to suggest that makes me less objective then we can say that about a lot of the commentators on here.

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

    Just a guess but probably the local Labour party would prefer to see the Tories lose, whereas the national Labour party would probably rather see Reckless lose.

  5. Thorshammer3:

    Yes you are always clear that you post as a UKIP supporter and I’ve no issue with that. Some of the most interesting posters on here are active party members or previous party members.

    But I think your comment about an Anti Tolhurst vote does suggest an element of wishful thinking. Unlike Andy JS, I think it unlikely that the 25% core of Labour voters would willingly “lend” their vote for Reckless. What do they gain? And nor have I seen any evidence that Tolhurst is the type of candidate with a polarising personality which leads to tactical voting against an individual.

    If you look further up the thread you will see that I felt that Reckless had failed to build up an adequate lead to defend this seat , and could find little evidence that he had previously commanded a significant personal vote. Ashcrofts poll is largely in line with what I expected : a narrow Conservative recovery of a by election loss. Similar to many we have seen over the decades.

  6. Exactly – & there’s clear evidence that the 42% that Reckless got in November is very flaky.

    Also there are 12000 DNV from the BE. I would imagine these to be very much stay at home Tories (& Lab/LD). These I would imagine would unlikely to be ABSTAIN in Nov but vote UKIP in the GE.

    I WOULD be surprised if UKIP won and if I were a bookmaker I would say Tolhurst is a 70% chance so my odds would be
    CON… .4/9
    UKIP.. 2/1

  7. Is it just me or is there no mention of the tusc candidates in any of the Medway seats?

  8. In one of the most significant moments of the election so far White Van Dan has revealed he’ll be supporting Cameron and the Tories.

  9. Reckless will lose here

  10. I think there’s a reason Reckless has had a low national profile this election, and it’s because the lower his profile, the lower the national profile of this seat – and that will help UKIP hold on. Avoiding the media circus of last year and letting the ground-war rumble quietly on is probably an effective tactic. I think Reckless will win by a larger margin that people are predicting.

  11. You’re going out on a limb predicting a UKIP WIN here in ROCHESTER & S.

    All polling evidence suggests a good win for Tolhurst.

    Latest odds:

  12. Dangerous to write Reckless off here. I’ll be interested to see how the Ashcroft constituency polling holds up, as I think there are some pretty massive uncertainties around it.

  13. Sebastian,

    That’s a very good point. I think this seat will be close but wouldn’t be too sure who will win. I respect your opinion though as I believe you’re fairly local?

    Its interesting to see that Ashcroft polls influence the betting market quite a bit – if they turn out to be wildly inaccurate then perhaps the bookies won’t place so much faith in them in future – for myself, I am beginning to place increasingly less faith in them.

  14. Democracy is right.. a feedback loop is developing…

    Flawed phone polls feeding Ashcroft (and other) polls feeding bookies, feeding sentiment feeding certainty..

  15. It must not be forgotten that Ashcroft has been wildly out on two constituency polls before (Clacton and Heywood and Middleton) , and has had problems with his polling methods (Doncaster North poll that showed UKIP in contention). We should be very careful (even though he may be right in most seats) about taking them as gospel.

  16. Yes. I have my suspicions about Ashcroft methodology.

    For starters, a lot of people no longer have Land lines, and secondly, a lot of people with land lines have devices fitted which screen calls in addition to Caller ID displays. So many Landline calls are just nuisance calls. Some people are reluctant to disclose personal and confidential details over the phone.

  17. I have a device to block withheld numbers, etc, but still got polled by Populous in Great Yarmouth on 17th April.

  18. I’m backing the Green candidate. From one Clive G to another!

  19. Conservative Gain. 1,000 maj. UKIP 2nd

  20. As I have been saying since November, a very poor UKIP performance in the GE.

    Congratulations to Kelly.

  21. Hi Deepthroat, nobody believed us! Hope you enjoyed election night.

  22. Not really mate…I am, & never have been a Tory….see my comments on LABOUR targets.

    Even I am surprised by the late late swing to CON.

    WHY we’re the polls wrong??

    It was the undecided that won it.

  23. The Full Result:

    Con 23,147 44.1%
    UKIP 16,009 30.5%
    Lab 10,396 19.8%
    Green 1,516 2.9%
    LDem 1,251 2.4%
    Other 202 0.4%

    Majority 7,133.

    I think that terminates the discussion on Mr Reckless’s personal vote.

  24. OF all the many seats I got correct I am very pleased with the following which I wrote on ROCHESTER & STROOD.

    “Been studying this seat and pondering the result in GE2015.

    In particular, been considering the 10000 to 11,000 DNV.

    I think it is likely that more will go to CON than UKIP.

    If you go by ASHCROFT. .only 72% of UKIP BY-ELECTION VOTERS said they will stay UKIP. Most of the 28% will go to CON it is safe to assume..Let’s say 20%…that 20% of 17,000…3,500.

    But let’s says it’s 3,000. This puts the parties level.

    Now if we agree that twice as many DNV from BE vote CON than UKIP …then the CON majority is something like :-
    14,000………………..BE 2014
    + 3,000…UKIP SWITCHERS
    + 3,000…DNV..BE2014
    + 1,000… TACTICAL

    So 21000/51000*100 = 41%

    November 24th, 2014 at 3:00 am”

    I hope and expect some contrite comments with regard to some of the cruel comments here aimed at Ms Tolhurst.

  25. Yes that was a good call in terms of percentages.

    The “Reckless has a strong personal vote / Tolhurst is a poor candidate” narrative always seemed suspect.

  26. to answer Potters question above – and to all those interest in interested in polls the april ashcroft poll showed:

    CON..36 %

    So compared to the actual result it was 11% out.

  27. I think the SNP surge probably did for Reckless. I think he would have just held on if it hadn’t been for the big jump in Tory support caused, in my opinion, by the threat of Salmond holding a Miliband government to ransom.

  28. Ashcroft should hang his head in shame, he is a joke

  29. UKIP very much still in the game here for future.

    Did they win any council seats here?

  30. JOHN SMITH. .yes but very few of us really questioned the ASHCROFT polls.

    I always thought that the true margin of error was probably more than 3% & I am proud that I overlooked ASHCROFT in seats like PLYMOUTH SD, BROXTOWE, HARROW E, when making my final predictions.

  31. BT Says…

    Yes they did win a few (4 I think across Medway) including Reckless’ wife. Not many in some ways but they did come very close in a few others. If UKIP remain popular nationally then they could well take more in 2019 with a view to mounting a strong bid for the seat in 2020.

  32. Thanks.

  33. Deepthroat – her winning doesn’t stop Tolhurst being a poor candidate though. We’ll just have to see how gaffe-prone an MP she is.

  34. She’s OK…she’ll stand up for Kent people. She won very handsomely.

    I like her from what I’ve heard and seen of her – ok she doesn’t have the voice of Joan Greenwood but she’s a trier with enthusiasm.

  35. I would have thought after some of the laughable predictions on here over recent months about the inevitable fate of ‘gaffe-prone’ MPs (Helen Grant, anyone?) we might be more circumspect about using that term and its various synonyms.

  36. To HHEMELIG:-

    I came across this exchange between us and wondered if my cos end charity* can look forward to seeing £20 coming their way?

    “To say that UKIP will actually increase their 7% is way off the mark.Does anyone want a £20 challenge? Simple CON/UKIP heads up. £20 TO GO CHARITY? Obviously, I will take the Tories. – November 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    “Does anyone want a £20 challenge?”

    Speaking for myself, I don’t disagree with you that a Con regain is a good possibility. I do disagree with your view that they will win by a majority of 3000+

    I’d bet your £20 that the majority will be less than 3000 (in either direction).. ” – November 25th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    (Majority was 7,100)

    * my chosen charity is

    The Horse Trust

    It’s the world’s oldest horse charity.  

    For over 125 years their Home of Rest for Horses has specialised in providing retirement and respite for working horses and ponies. These hard-working equine public servants have served our nation in the Police, the Army…

  37. Show me the post where you confirmed the bet and gave me your contact details and then I’ll pay you.

    As it seems the site is turning into nothing more than an endless gloatfest I’m not posting here again.

    Andy JS – I posted my email address several times so I can settle up with you but still haven’t heard anything. It is [email protected]. Look forward to keeping in touch.

  38. happy to keep in touch with you H.Hemmelig, whoever you are 🙂 please by all means message me on social media.

  39. Will do so this afternoon

  40. “As it seems the site is turning into nothing more than an endless gloatfest I’m not posting here again”.

    Yes, we’re up to our ears with gloaters.

    You did rather bring this upon yourself though with all the “horseshit” stuff.

  41. Congratulations on the NE Derbyshire prediction. A excellent tip which I and others shouldn’t have dismissed out of hand. Knowing Clay Cross as I do, I’m amazed the Tories are able to get so close these days. I can hear my late Great Aunt (former Labour mayor of the District) turning in her grave.

    I’ve decided to take the time I waste on this site and devote it to something more constructive. From a political point of view, that will be helping the campaign to stay in the EU…the only thing that really worries me about the new government.

  42. Barnaby

    Just messaged both of your Facebook profiles

  43. Many thanks. It was the only seat other than I felt confident enough about to make a specific prediction (although I was also pretty sure UKIP would fall short in all bar Clacton). I would never mock those braver than me who attempted to predict more seats.

    I don’t think you need to worry too much about the EU referendum. UKIP have made the “out” option so toxic in recent years by appealing solely to the angry nativist vote that I think the chances of “out” winning are vanishingly small.

    I also get the impression that the new intake of Tory MPs has tilted the balance of the parliamentary party slightly leftwards, which would doubtless be to your liking. Everyone’s going on about the small Tory majority leading to a rerun of the 90s with the government in hoc to right wing back benchers. I actually think they have more to fear from moderates voting with the opposition.

  44. I hope you’re right.

    Anybody who has done business in the south of England the past week can’t have failed to notice the absolutely massive sigh of relief from every kind of business, large and small. Labour’s policies have gifted the Tories more support and goodwill from business than at any time since 1987…it’s hugely important the party does not squander that by pushing an isolationist policy on Europe.

  45. Still can’t believe how badly Reckless tanked here in the end. Not that Labour were really up to much themselves, but still I think Kelly Tolhurst can be very proud of her regain here indeed.

  46. The Lib Dems didn’t do so atrociously here last week as in the by-election. They didn’t even get halfway to retaining their deposit, but they got 1,500 votes rather than the 300-odd they got in November.

  47. True. I guess the byelection effect faded enough for them to get the respectable thousand or so votes they mustered.

  48. Someone on Facebook claimed that “a wodge of North-West Gillingham” is included in this seat. Surely that isn’t right?

  49. “Still can’t believe how badly Reckless tanked here in the end. Not that Labour were really up to much themselves”

    As a Labour supporter, it depresses that in 2010 the party held this seat and now they’ve fallen so far back now. I wonder which of the leadership candidates has the ability to win back seats like this?

  50. Jeremy Corbyn without a doubt (whistles innocently)

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