This is because in the British electoral system, not every vote is equal. And the three Medway seats were hotly contested as they had a high chance of switching parties. They were, and had been since 1997, held by Labour.
The 2010 General Election saw the Conservatives sweep the parliamentary seats in Medway, when; Tracey Crouch beat Jonathan Shaw for the Chatham and Aylesford seat, former Labour councillor Rehman Chishti, now Conservative PPC, won the Gillingham and Rainham seat from Paul Clark, and Mark Reckless beat Teresa Murray for the Rochester and Strood seat after Bob Marshall-Andrews chose not to defend his seat.
In 2011, all 22 of Medway’s council wards were contested as part of the four yearly cycle of local elections and resulted in the Conservative group maintaining control as they had done since 2003. Things continued uneventfully in a theatrical ‘they said this, they said that’ style of minimal scrutiny and maximum point scoring that the Council leaders expected and accepted. Issues like Rochester airport expansion and the moving of Strood library are endlessly discussed, with little meaningful progress ever really made.
In 2014, an event occurred which was more shocking then discovering that ‘there is gambling going on in this establishment’: Mark Reckless MP defected to UKIP. This caused a by-election in Rochester and Strood. As a result of this, political turmoil descended on the towns: Britain First protested a proposed mosque in Gillingham, Medway residents protested against Britain First, a UKIP council group appeared on Medway Council, Mark Reckless based his entire campaign on opposing a development he previously supported, and Rochester and Strood residents voted for change by re-electing him back into office.
Will the Medway constituencies be visited by national leaders during the 2015 election? At this stage it seems likely, if only because the good folks of Rochester and Strood haven’t suffered enough in recent months.
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