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. I think the Fraud Act applies, but to respond to Deepthroat I should have said there’s no limitations for any serious criminal offences in Britain (unlike the USA) ie dealt with by the Crown Court.

    Incidentally, the CCHQ statement is odd. It states they completed the return in accordance with the law.

    Er yes, the allegation is that the return itself was fraudulent!

    Even the Newark MP refused to confirm that Tory professional staff and their hotel stays would be included when Crick asked him specifically.

  2. Even under the RPA 1983 Act, s75 (5), making a false declaration can lead to 12 months imprisonment and a fine of £5,000.

  3. Seen of Twitter
    Michael Crick @MichaelLCrick · 4h4 hours ago

    Labour candidate in 2014 Rochester by-election, Naushabah Khan, asks Kent police to examine #C4News allegations on Tory election expenses

  4. Kelly Tolhurst is voting Remain and Guido aren’t very happy about it –

  5. Cllr Mark Joy has defected (UKIP > Cons) here.

    He represents Strood South.

  6. I think the unwind of ukip here is inevitable given the apparent departure of Reckless from the local scene.

    Winning that by election might well be the second biggest achievement the party ever had, apart from the ref of course.

  7. Incredible to think that Mark Reckless had a big personal vote. I mean, look at him. At listen when he opens his mouth – that’s a voice only a mother could love.

  8. Personally I don’t vote on the basis of what people look like, or indeed their accent. Do you?

  9. ”Yes. I see this becoming safe Tory.”

    It already is. If UKIP couldn’t win it with a sitting MP they never will. As for Labour the time when they could win this type of seat is well and truly over. Despite all the flack she got I think Tolhurst is a good fit for the area and will get a large increase in her vote share next time (easily clearing 50%).

  10. I also remember the Labour candidate was quite highly regarded. I wonder if she will be selected for a winnable seat at the next election, though I doubt it given the current trajectory of the party.

  11. “I think Tolhurst is a good fit for the area”

    You must have a low opinion of the area then.

    Not only does she come across as a vacuous know-nothing, her entire campaigns in both 2014 and 2015 focused on her hatred of the EU, only for her to meekly come out as a Remainer a few weeks ahead of the Referendum! One of the weakest and most over-promoted of Cameron’s stooges.

    Mark Reckless did exceptionally well here as this is by no means a naturally ukippy area.

  12. @H.Hemmelig I’ve never been but I’m sure it’s pleasant enough. What I meant by Tohurst being a good candidate is she is a local who is the daughter of a boat builder who ran a small business and represented the area in local; government before her election as an MP. That background will likely be a net positive for her electorally regardless of whether she is an ‘over-promoted of Cameron’s stooge’ or not.

  13. None of that necessarily makes you a good MP

    You can be the daughter of a boat builder, a small business owner and local councillor and still come across as a bit thick.

    Her high profile flip flop on Brexit will make it tough for her to be reselected if the boundary changes go through, especially now Cameron has gone.

  14. ”None of that necessarily makes you a good MP”

    Never said it did I was merely saying that her strong local roots will be a benefit to her electorally.

    ”will make it tough for her to be reselected if the boundary changes go through”

    It is quite difficult to deselect an MP (there is usually no more than 1 or 2 per cycle) so I doubt she’ll be deselected unless she is involved in some kind of scandal. The proposed boundary changes will make no difference as Rochester and Strood will simply gain one ward from Gravesham. It’s the oddly shaped Faversham and Mid Kent of the Kent seats which the commission has proposed to get the chop.

  15. “None of that necessarily makes you a good MP”

    I wonder whether Dennis Skinner has got himself an email address yet, or uses it.

  16. “It’s the oddly shaped Faversham and Mid Kent of the Kent seats which the commission has proposed to get the chop.”

    Indeed. I live in F&MK. It takes me longer to drive to Faversham than it does to walk to Maidstone in the neighbouring constituency; in fact I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve even visited Faversham. That particular boundary change is well overdue as far as I’m concerned. If only my new seat were represented by someone other than Helen Grant…

  17. Former MP here Bob Marshall-Andrews has defected from Labour to the Lib Dems

  18. Con will hold easily this time 14,000

  19. ‘Former MP here Bob Marshall-Andrews has defected from Labour to the Lib Dems’

    Reminds me of when staunch Left winger Brian Sedgemore defected prior to the 2005 election

    All the evidence suggests that that cost the Lib Dems votes

    Having said that I’m very surprised as I would have thought Marshall Andrews the sort of Labour member who would welcome a Corbyn leadership.

    He’s obviously considerably more intelligent and politically streetwise than many of his colleagues from the Socialist Campaign Group

  20. Con Hold. 17k.

  21. I can see this having a majority of in excess of 20k for Tolhurst, as has been mentioned, much like the Liverpool seats for Labour.

  22. Yes I agree, I think long term Labour would more likely win Colchester ahead of Dartford now. In Kent I could only see Dover ever being by Labour again and that would be in a 1997 election. I can see a lot of suburban remain seats like Croydon South, Epsom, Bromley getting slightly better for Labour over the years, the problem is it would be from a very low base and seats which they wouldn’t ever be close to winning.

  23. Rochester West (Medway) result:

    LAB: 47.5% (+26.5)
    CON: 39.5% (-4.0)
    LDEM: 4.7% (+1.0)
    GRN: 4.2% (-6.1)
    UKIP: 4.1% (-16.2)

    Labour GAIN from Conservative.

  24. Really good result for Labour in white-van-man territory.

    I still think the Parliamentary seat is one that only a repeat of 1997 could tip into the Labour column.

  25. Fantastic result for Labour in the recent by-election here but I agree with Polltroll, Labour could only win the parliamentary seat in a Blair-style landslide. I think Labour have chance more of a winning the Chelsea and Fulham seat than any seat in Kent again (I think Labour will hold Canterbury at the next General Election).

  26. Medways predecessor regularly swapped hands during the 50s, 60s and 70s

  27. Yes, but times have changed since then Matt! Medway and the majority of Kent (with possibly the exception of Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Canterbury) is now ‘white flight’ central (along with Essex). Many Kent (and Essex) residents feel very resentful towards Labour as they feel their immigration policy during their time in government from 1997 – 2010, changed their hometowns in South London beyond recognition and feel like they been ”pushed out” of London. Not my personal view but the view of the vast majority of people I know who moved from South London to Kent in the last 10 – 15 years.

  28. They might have a shot at Dover. Charlie Elphicke is still suspended…

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