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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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”
How many jobs can a councillor do and still fully serve their local residents?
That’s one question Rainham Central councillor Rehman Chishti is pushing to it’s limits. Since adding being the MP for Gillingham and Rainham to his list of jobs in 2010, Rehman has continued to do more and more on a national and international level, and less and less on a local level.
Indeed, when it comes to local council meetings, Rehman has only managed to turn up to 40% of council meetings in the last 18 months, but has managed to find time for everything listed below. We’re by no means suggesting councillors can’t have other roles, but this all seems like rather a lot for one person. How much time can Rehman Chishti truly to be dedicating to the people of Rainham Central? Continue reading “Is Rainham Central to Rehman Chishti?”
Finally, after what feels like eight hundred years of consultation, the Boundary Commission have published their final proposals for new parliamentary constituencies across the UK. The intention of this is two-fold: reduce the number of MPs in parliament from 650 to 600, while also equalising the size of constituencies.
Obviously, being The Political Medway, we are only interested in what difference this will make to the electoral map in Medway. To which the answer is not very much really. Sorry if you were hoping for something more dramatic.Continue reading “Know your boundaries”
For the fourth time in a little over two years, Medway has again gone to the polls, this time for a surprise General Election.
Polling stations will close at 10pm, and after that we’ll be live tweeting from the count on @MedwayPolitics. We’ll post the results on this post as quickly as we can, but it’ll probably be very late before the Medway results come in, so we won’t hold it against you if you check back in the morning.
Chatham and Aylesford result – Con HOLD
Nicole Bushill (UKIP) – 2,225
Tracey Crouch (Con) – 25,587
John Gibson (CPA) – 260
Bernard Hyde (Green) – 573
Vince Maple (Lab) – 15,129
Thomas Quinton (Lib Dem) – 1,116
Gillingham and Rainham result – Con HOLD
Paul Chaplin (Lib Dem) – 1,372
Rehman Chishti (Con) – 27,091
Martin Cook (UKIP) – 2,097
Clive Gregory (Green) – 520
Roger Peacock (CPA) – 127
Andy Stamp (Lab) – 17,661
Rochester and Strood result – Con HOLD
David Allen (UKIP) – 2,893
Steve Benson (CPA) – 169
Primerose Chiguri (Ind) – 129
Sonia Hyner (Green) – 781
Teresa Murray (Lab) – 19,382
Bart Ricketts (Lib Dem) – 1189
Kelly Tolhurst (Con) – 29,232
We started this site in the run to the 2015 General and Local Elections as a way to help us and others understand a bit more about how politics works at a local level. It was originally intended to be a short run project through those elections, but we enjoyed the process enough that we stuck with it and thus The Political Medway was born.
We assumed at that point that things would be fairly quiet after that, with no more elections that anyone cared about scheduled in Medway until the next round of locals in 2019.
Dear reader, things have not been quiet.
In 2016, we had to deal with the EU membership referendum and it’s fallout, as well as two local council by-elections.
Surely 2017 would give the Medway electorate a break?
Of course it wouldn’t, and we’ll all be voting in a General Election on June 8.
Unfortunately, both of us that man this site have been a tad busy of late, so we’re a little late in getting our coverage underway, but such is life. We’re publishing the full candidate lists for all three seats tomorrow, and in the coming weeks will have some hustings coverage, some questions for our esteemed candidates, and all being well (translation: Medway Council letting us in) our election night count live coverage.
Additionally, and probably more importantly, a lot of the day to day coverage that doesn’t warrant an entire post lives entirely on Twitter @MedwayPolitics.
So dear reader, join us as we once again head unto the Medway electoral breach.