Rochester and Strood (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 51°24′N 0°30′E / 51.400°N 0.500°E / 51.400; 0.500

Rochester and Strood
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Rochester and Strood in Kent
Outline map
Location of Kent within England
Electorate75,001 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlementsRochester, Strood, Chatham (part)
Current constituency
Member of ParliamentKelly Tolhurst (Conservative)
Number of membersOne
Created fromMedway

Rochester and Strood is a constituency[n 1] in Kent represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Kelly Tolhurst, a Conservative.[n 2] Since 2022, she has served as Government Deputy Chief Whip and Treasurer of the Household.

Constituency profile[edit]

Rochester and Strood constituency is situated alongside the River Medway, which joins the Thames Estuary, becoming a wide salty and sea-like waterway at its northern river mouth. It spans the ancient cathedral city of Rochester, the older part of Chatham, and the smaller town of Strood to the west of the river, with a more rural area to the north of Strood on the Hoo Peninsula.

Earnings in the constituency are close to the national average income,[2][3] low unemployment compared to the national average (3.5% at the end of 2012)[4] and can be considered aside from significant sources of employment, professions and trades in Kent as part of the London Commuter Belt. Levels of reliance on social housing are similar to most of the region in this seat.[2]


The Rochester constituency has ancient origins dating to the 16th century, but it has seen many changes in the 20th century. From 1885 to 1918 the wider area was split between Chatham, Gillingham and the "old", rural, Medway constituency. The Chatham seat joined Rochester to form Rochester and Chatham in 1950, which formed the core of Medway in 1983.

When the boroughs of Rochester upon Medway and Gillingham merged in 1998 to form, then confusingly, a unitary authority named Medway, the parliamentary constituency of Medway only covered part of the new borough, so in the boundary changes before the 2010 election the seat was renamed to more accurately reflect the area of Rochester and Strood which it now covers.

The seat of Rochester and Chatham, followed by Medway and then Rochester and Strood, had elected members of the party which won the popular vote in the UK at every election since 1959. This had meant that from 1959 to 2014 the area had always been represented by a member of the governing party, apart from the brief period between the February and October elections in 1974 (since Labour formed a minority government in February despite the Conservatives winning the popular vote).

In 2014, the sitting Conservative MP Mark Reckless defected to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), becoming the second MP in a matter of weeks to do so. Reckless resigned his seat, triggering a by-election in which he stood as the UKIP candidate. He won the by-election by just under 3,000 votes and became UKIP's second MP after Douglas Carswell. At the 2015 general election, Reckless was defeated by Conservative candidate Kelly Tolhurst, who had also fought the by-election. Tolhurst secured a majority of over 7,000 votes, meaning the Rochester area once again had an MP on the government benches.

In 2017, Lily Madigan was elected as Women's Officer for the Labour Party in the constituency, making her the first trans woman to hold the position.[5][6]


Map of current boundaries

The seat covers the Cuxton and Halling, Peninsula, River, Rochester East, Rochester South and Horsted, Rochester West, Strood North, Strood Rural and Strood South wards of Medway.[7]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[8] Party
2010 Mark Reckless Conservative
2014 by-election UKIP
2015 Kelly Tolhurst Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General election 2019: Rochester and Strood[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Kelly Tolhurst 31,151 60.0 +5.7
Labour Teresa Murray 14,079 27.1 –8.9
Liberal Democrats Graham Colley 3,717 7.2 +5.0
Green Sonia Hyner 1,312 2.5 +1.0
UKIP Roy Freshwater 1,080 2.1 –3.3
Independent Chris Spalding 587 1.1 New
Majority 17,072 32.9 +14.6
Turnout 51,926 63.3 –1.8
Conservative hold Swing +7.3
General election 2017: Rochester and Strood
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Kelly Tolhurst 29,232 54.3 +10.2
Labour Teresa Murray 19,382 36.0 +16.2
UKIP David Allen 2,893 5.4 –25.1
Liberal Democrats Bart Ricketts 1,189 2.2 –0.2
Green Sonia Hyner 781 1.5 –1.4
CPA Steve Benson 163 0.3 New
Independent Primerose Chiguri 129 0.2 New
Majority 9,850 18.3 +4.7
Turnout 53,840 65.1 –1.4
Conservative hold Swing –3.0
General election 2015: Rochester and Strood[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Kelly Tolhurst 23,142 44.1 –5.1
UKIP Mark Reckless 16,009 30.5 N/A
Labour Naushabah Khan 10,396 19.8 –8.7
Green Clive Gregory 1,516 2.9 +1.4
Liberal Democrats Prue Bray 1,251 2.4 –13.9
TUSC Dan Burn 202 0.4 New
Majority 7,133 13.6 –7.1
Turnout 52,516 66.5 +1.6
Conservative gain from UKIP Swing N/A
By-election 2014: Rochester and Strood[11][12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UKIP Mark Reckless 16,867 42.1 New
Conservative Kelly Tolhurst 13,947 34.8 –14.4
Labour Naushabah Khan 6,713 16.8 –11.7
Green Clive Gregory 1,692 4.2 +2.7
Liberal Democrats Geoff Juby 349 0.9 –15.4
Monster Raving Loony Hairy Knorm Davidson 151 0.4 New
Independent Stephen Goldsborough 69 0.2 New
People Before Profit Nick Long 69 0.2 New
Britain First Jayda Fransen 56 0.1 New
Independent Mike Barker 54 0.1 New
Independent Charlotte Rose 43 0.1 New
Patriotic Socialist Party Dave Osborn 33 0.1 New
Independent Christopher Challis 22 0.1 New
Majority 2,920 7.3 N/A
Turnout 40,065 50.6 –14.3
UKIP gain from Conservative Swing N/A
General election 2010: Rochester and Strood[13][14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Reckless 23,604 49.2 +6.6
Labour Teresa Murray 13,651 28.5 -13.1
Liberal Democrats Geoff Juby 7,800 16.3 +3.9
English Democrat Ron Sands 2,182 4.5 New
Green Simon Marchant 734 1.5 New
Majority 9,953 20.7
Turnout 47,971 64.9
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A county constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.


  1. ^ "Electorate Figures – Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics".
  3. ^ "2011 census interactive maps". Archived from the original on 29 January 2016.
  4. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  5. ^ "Lily Madigan: I want to be Labour's first transgender MP". BBC Newsbeat. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  6. ^ Diavolo, Lucy (5 November 2018). "21 Under 21: Lily Madigan's Political Moxie Is Fueled by Bigots' Attention". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  7. ^ 2010 post-revision map non-metropolitan areas and unitary authorities of England
  8. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 2)
  9. ^ "Rochester & Strood Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  11. ^ "By-election date set after MP Mark Reckless defects to Ukip". 14 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  12. ^ "UKIP's Reckless wins Rochester seat". BBC News. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Rochester & Strood". BBC News. 7 May 2010.

External links[edit]