Could the Tories lose their grip on Medway?
The council could be closer to changing hands than any point in the last 20 years.
Note: An earlier version of this piece was posted on The Political Medway last year. This version is revised, and includes additional analysis.
One of the curious things about Medway is how little it has changed politically since its formation nearly 25 years ago. Following a slightly turbulent period where the old Rochester-upon-Medway City Council and Gillingham Borough Council were merged, with elections fought along temporary boundaries, things have been remarkably settled since 2003. The Conservatives won the largest number of seats in 2000, took majority control of the authority in 2003, and haven’t come close to being removed since.
This is curious given the changes in the area, particularly demographically in the two decades since. While it also seems hard to believe now, up until 2010 Medway was represented by three Labour MPs, so it isn’t entirely far fetched that Labour could be strong in these parts. Yet somehow, for the better part of two decades, the Tories have managed to dominate local elections and thus have control over Medway for the past two decades.
But could this be about to change? We might be closer than at any point since the formation of the authority as we know it today.
The reason for this isn’t so much a dramatic change in the political winds (though arguably that may be happening too), but rather something all the more bureaucratic.
The next local elections in Medway will be fought along very different boundaries than they have been since 2003, and with internal politics spilling out into the public, and an old guard who have been coasting for too long, this might be the perfect storm that finally sees the Tories lose their grip on these towns.
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