Thursday, 1 April 2010

A Look @: Medway

Medway is a Unitary Authority covering a series of large towns in North Kent. Currently it is politically split. The Conservatives are running the council with 33 of the 55 seats after they gained two in the 2007 elections. But Labour hold all three Parliamentary seats and they are going to be on the defensive this year to stop the Tories making a clean sweep.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Rochester & Strood

Bob Marshall-Andrews




CON Gain

Gillingham & Rainham

Paul Clark




CON Gain

Chatham & Aylesford

Jonathan Shaw




CON Gain


Rochester and Strood is the new name for Bob Marshall-Andrews' seat Medway. He is probably best known for his outspoken criticism of Tony Blair and 2005 he blamed the then Prime Minister when he conceded defeat live on TV before he sensationally held the seat by just 213 votes. This year Marshall-Andrews is not seeking re-election and the boundary commission's minor changes to the constituency have left Medway councillor Teresa Murray defending a negative majority for Labour. It's going to be very tough for her to hold this and that's reflected in the odds. The Conservatives have selected Mark Reckless who has contested this seat at the last two elections. He'll seems set to make it third time lucky as the Tories look to take back a seat they lost in 1997; Tory Gain.

Paul Clark was another Labour MP to squeak home at the last election, winning his Gillingham seat by just 254 votes. Since then the constituency has been renamed Gillingham & Rainham and the minor boundary alterations have left Clark a notional majority of absolutely nothing. Clark looked in serious trouble a couple of months ago when he was ordered to pay back £11,000 over mortgage interest claims but he won his appeal against the decision. This isn't going to change the political momentum that Clark is up against though and it looks likely that the Conservative candidate Rehnman Chishti's reward for his defection from Labour will be a seat in Parliament; Tory Gain.

Jonathan Shaw represents Labour's best chance of a hold in Medway. He has represented Chatham and Aylesford since the seat was created in 1997 and he has been the beneficiary of the boundary changes in Medway. They have increased his notional majority by around 1,000. On the one had he has by far the biggest majority to defend in the area and wasn't badly affected by the expenses scandal. But equally there is little reason why this seat should act vastly different in relation to the national swing and so as the gap widens in the polls it looks increasingly likely that Tracy Crouch will take this for the Conservatives. A recent by-election loss in one of their safest wards is an ominous sign for Labour who look set to relinquish many of their Blair gains in the South; Tory Gain.


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