Rochester and Strood (UK Parliament constituency)
|Rochester and Strood|
for the House of Commons
Boundary of Rochester and Strood in Kent.
Location of Kent within England.
|Electorate||75,001 (December 2010)|
|Member of parliament||Kelly Tolhurst (Conservative)|
|Number of members||One|
|European Parliament constituency||South East England|
Rochester and Strood constituency is an urban area in north Kent 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 two of the five Medway Towns: Rochester and Strood, and the villages in Strood Rural Ward and on the Hoo Peninsula.
Medway (or Medway Towns) is the collective name for the municipal area, one of the largest conurbations in South East England outside London that encompasses the towns of Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Kent, Rochester, Strood and a surrounding narrow buffer: included among these are various rural villages on the Hoo Peninsula and on the west bank of the River Medway.
Chatham town centre is an important sub-regional shopping centre and in the 2010s benefited from a £1 billion regeneration programme transforming it into Medway's central business district. Rochester and Strood Riversides are the names of large urban brownfield sites, and are one of the main development projects in the Thames Gateway. A substantial new mixed use developments will include some 3,000 plus new mixed tenure homes, offices and shops, two new hotels, restaurants, river walks and open spaces and links to historic Rochester.
The Rochester constituency has ancient origins dating to the 16th century, but it has seen many changes in the 20th century. From 1885–1918 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 since 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.
The electoral wards incorporated within the parliamentary seat are as follows:
- Cuxton and Halling, Peninsula, River, Rochester East, Rochester South and Horsted, Rochester West, Strood North, Strood Rural and Strood South
Rochester and Strood comprises a population whose earnings are close to the national average income, low unemployment compared to the national average (3.5% at the end of 2012) 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.
Members of Parliament
Elections in the 2010s
|General Election 2015: Rochester and Strood|
|Liberal Democrat||Prue Bray||1,251||2.4||-13.9|
|Rochester and Strood by-election, 20 November 2014|
|Liberal Democrat||Geoff Juby||349||0.9||−15.5|
|Monster Raving Loony||Hairy Knorm Davidson||151||0.4||N/A|
|People Before Profit||Nick Long||69||0.2||N/A|
|Britain First||Jayda Fransen||56||0.1||N/A|
|Patriotic Socialist Party||Dave Osborn||33||0.1||N/A|
|UKIP gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
|General Election 2010: Rochester and Strood|
|Liberal Democrat||Geoff Juby||7,800||16.3||+3.9|
|English Democrats||Ron Sands||2,182||4.5||N/A|
Notes and references
- "Electorate Figures – Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Borough of Medway – Planning Policy Statements
- 2010 post-revision map non-metropolitan areas and unitary authorities of England
- 2001 Census
- 2011 census interactive maps
- Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
- "By-election date set after MP Mark Reckless defects to Ukip". Telegraph.co.uk. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "UKIP's Reckless wins Rochester seat". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Rochester & Strood". BBC News. 7 May 2010.