Rehman Chishti resigns from government to spend more time with his other jobs

It’s a busy day in Westminster with ministers resigning from government all over the place, a potential leadership challenge, and a fair chance that the government won’t make it until the end of the week.

None of which would be particularly exciting on a local level, until Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, announced he was resigning his position as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and as the Trade Envoy to Pakistan.

His full letter is below, where he makes it clear that he cannot support the current EU Withdrawal Agreement currently on offer. Chishti is the seventh government minister to resign over this today.

Anyone worrying that Rehman won’t have much to do in the coming months needn’t do so. He still remains the MP for Gillingham and Rainham, still sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, and he is still the councillor for Rainham Central. Of course, if that’s not enough, there’s often opportunities available with, for example, Saudi think tanks.

It’s hard to predict what this means for Rehman’s political future given it’s hard to predict what will happen in the next two hours at this stage. Rehman has seemingly been preparing for this eventuality though.
In recent months, he has been cozying up to potential leadership contenders like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, so it seems unlikely that this will be the end of his career at a national level.

Do you agree with his decision? What will happen to him next? Is there a chance he’ll have time to turn up to more than 44% of local council meetings now? Tell us in the comments below.

inFrequently Answered Surveys: I’m Still Standing

One of our popular features on The Political Medway is inFrequently Answered Questions, where we send questions to relevant political figures and hope that we might occasionally get a reply.

It’s time to do our first (Keevil) / last (Jennings) survey!

Following developments last week with Cllr Pendergast leaving Medway UKIP, Cllr Howard leaving Medway Tories and further afield in Dover, Cllr Eddy, the former leader of the Labour Opposition leaving the Labour Group to join the Greens, we (just Keevil) decided to ask the other 53 councillors to select one statement that best represented them for #LocalElection2019:
– I will be standing in the same ward with the same party.
– I will be standing in the same ward with a different party.
– I will be standing in a different ward with the same party.
– I will be standing in a different ward with a different party.
– I will be standing as an Independent.
– I will be standing as a member of The ‘Medway’s Voice Party’.
– I have decided to stand down.
– I have been deselected.
– I do not know if I will be standing or be deselected.
– I did not know there was a Local Election in 2019.
Continue reading “inFrequently Answered Surveys: I’m Still Standing”

Fear and Loathing: GDPR on the Campaign Trail

It was inevitable that someone in Medway politics would screw up in this brave new GDPR world.

Politicians sharing reports and images from the campaign trail is standard practice at this point. Barely a weekend can go by without local activists telling us about the ‘fantastic response on the doorstep’ that they achieved. So it would have been easy to glance at the below image shared by Medway Conservative candidate for Luton and Wayfield Robbie Lammas and not think much of it.

Unless you care about data protection, anyway.

Continue reading “Fear and Loathing: GDPR on the Campaign Trail”

Vote for me! I’ll attend full council 44% of the time

In recent weeks, we’ve seen increasing questions raised about Councillor Rehman Chishti’s ability to juggle several jobs, and how much time he has left to be an active councillor for Rainham Central. As we pointed out previously, in recent years, he has turned up at less than half of full council meetings. Following this, we decided to analyse the attendance rates of all 55 Medway councillors.

First of all, some caveats to this data: We have used the attendance data made available from Medway Council, so if any councillor believes our data is wrong, we’d suggest they take it up with the council. Secondly, we are only analysing attendance of full council and not other committee meetings. While we may look at those in the future, full council is the only meeting where all councillors are expected to attend, so it creates a level playing field. Finally, we have used percentage attendance rather than number of meetings, so we can create a fair comparison between the 52 councillors that have served a full term so far, and the 3 elected in by-elections. Continue reading “Vote for me! I’ll attend full council 44% of the time”

Fixed Odds On Principles

For some this is the worst of the post-war British Governments, and yet Tracey Crouch, as both Sports Minister and Minister for Loneliness, was an example of what a Member of Parliament with a social conscious could do in Government.

And then on All-Saints Day she resigned.

Keevil attempts to understand how modern gambling licensing works, what FOBTs are and why it would cause a politician of principles to resign on principle. Continue reading “Fixed Odds On Principles”

Councillor declares independence from Conservative Party instead of Europe

A second Medway councillor has resigned from their party to sit as an independent for the remainder of their term. Councillor Anne-Claire Howard, who represents Twydall, has quit the Conservative party after failing to be reselected to stand for the party in upcoming local elections.

This move won’t be entirely surprising to followers of local politics. Cllr Howard has long been one of the more outspoken members of the Conservative group, regularly criticising the stance of the party on Brexit as well as the actions of other councillors in the chamber.

Councillor Howard has issued this fairly damning statement: Continue reading “Councillor declares independence from Conservative Party instead of Europe”

iFAQs: Min Attendance / Max Council

One of our popular features that we used to have on The Political Medway was inFrequently Answered Questions, where we’d send off questions to relevant political figures and hope that we might occasionally get a reply. As we get going on this project again, we’ve decided to start asking some questions of our esteemed councillors once again.

To get us going, we started with an easy one, and sent all 55 Medway councillors the following question:

What should be the minimum attendance percentage of full council meetings for a councillor to retain their position?

We told every councillor that they had a week to respond, and that we would publish their responses entirely unedited. All responses are published below, in the order that they were received by us.

Continue reading “iFAQs: Min Attendance / Max Council”

Dickensian Medway, Hard Times: Homelessness

In which Keevil publishes the first in a series of indubitably jolly pieces looking at hardship within Medway.

Click this link if you are at risk of homelessness

(Leave the comment ‘Hard Times’ on any Ko-fi donation in relation to this article and a hot drink will be given to a homeless person.)

In 2017, Shelter estimated that Medway had 1,059 total homeless people and 14 long term rough sleepers.
Medway Council’s Rough Sleeper Estimate, in October 2017, verified by Homeless Link, had a figure of 44 rough sleepers in Medway. Continue reading “Dickensian Medway, Hard Times: Homelessness”

=Pop./km2

In which Keevil attempts to get the maximum number of possible readers, whom have clicked on a story with a title like that, to stop reading with the following sentence:

Population density is the average number of people living per km2

Still here? What about:

There is little correlation between population density and economic development.

Okay, how about a graphical representation? Continue reading “=Pop./km2”

Pub landlord calls time on UKIP

Today, following weeks of rumours about his future, Peninsula Councillor Mick Pendergast formally resigned from the UKIP group on the council, choosing to sit as an independent for now.

Pendergast, who runs the Nags Head pub in Lower Stoke, was elected as part of a small UKIP wave in 2015, when the party managed to win four seats on the council. Since then, three of those councillors have resigned or defected, leaving leader Councillor Roy Freshwater as the only UKIP representation in the chamber. Continue reading “Pub landlord calls time on UKIP”