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So now we have the names of the two candidates for the Rochester and Strood postal open primary: Kelly Tolhurst and Anna Firth.

Enclosed below is the full letter from David Cameron which has gone out to every voter in the constituency.

Here are the profiles it gives of the candidates:

Kelly has lived and worked here all her life. The daughter of a boat builder, she now runs her own marine survey business in Rochester and has served as a local councillor for over three years. As a life-long resident who has seen our area grow and change over the years, Kelly understands the benefits new investment can provide for local people. But she has also seen the strain that excessive immigration has put on housing and our local services. So if she’s elected, Kelly will work hard to secure a better future for our area by pushing for more serious action to get immigration under control, working to improve the service at Medway Hospital, fighting for improvements to our local primary schools and helping small businesses get the government investment they need to create more jobs.

Anna lives in Kent with her husband and three children. Formerly a barrister, she now serves on the local council where she has worked to successfully secure funding for sports facilities and a new nursery, delivered changes to welfare and campaigned for the regeneration of our high streets. Growing up in Essex as the daughter of an engineer and a school teacher, and now with a son at school in Rochester and a brother who works at Medway Maritime Hospital, Anna knows the issues that matter to you because they also matter to her. If elected to serve the people of Rochester and Strood she would fight for more police on our streets to tackle anti-social behaviour, better health services and a better deal for our armed forces, to whom we owe so much.”

It’s notable that both are councillors in Kent – Tolhurst represents Rochester West ward on Medway Council and Firth represents Brasted, Chevening & Sundridge ward on Sevenoaks Council. Cllr Firth’s name may be familiar to some readers, as she was shortlisted to fight against Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

The next step is a public meeting to question the candidates, which will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7.30pm at the Corn Exchange in Rochester – and there is the promise of “public meetings around the constituency” so it seems that’s just the first. We will find out the winner of the postal ballot on Thursday 23rd October.

Cameron’s letter rightly makes the decision to give all voters a say the key point. Interestingly, there are some signs of a post-Clacton strategy emerging. “Nigel Farage and Mark Reckless want to turn this election into a national media circus – we want it to be about you and what you want for the future of this area,” writes the Prime Minister – apparently taking on board the point we made last week that while electing UKIP’s first MP might be exciting, electing its second would be much less so.

We also get the first taste of the line the Conservative campaign intends to draw between us and UKIP – “no stunts or backroom deals, just a strong local candidate you can trust”. This speaks to voters’ concerns about Reckless and his decision to defect after repeated denials, as well as to the feeling that Farage is a showman rather than a serious proposition.

David Cameron’s letter in full:

YOU SELECT THE CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE FOR THE ROCHESTER AND STROOD BY-ELECTION

Following the resignation of Mark Reckless, the Conservative Party now has to choose a new candidate to contest the upcoming by-election. And as you may have already heard, we’re putting the people of Rochester and Strood in the drivers seat.

We’re inviting you – regardless of which Party you support – to help us make that decision through a postal primary election. This is a unique and exciting opportunity that the other parties aren’t offering. In fact, it’s only happened a few times before in British history.

Every voter will be sent a ballot paper in the mail, along with the details of each candidate by the local Conservative Association. And before you vote you’ll have the chance to meet the candidates and hear their plans for our area at public meetings around the constituency.

It’s your chance to make a positive choice for the future of Rochester and Strood by selecting the Conservative candidate, so you have the best chance of getting a local MP that you can trust to stand up for you and your family. So don’t pass it up!

Nigel Farage and Mark Reckless want to turn this election into a national media circus – we want it to be about you and what you want for the future of this area.

The decision is in your hands. There’s no stunts or backroom deals, just a strong local candidate you can trust.

OUR CANDIDATES – KELLY TOLHURST AND ANNA FIRTH

So today we are very excited to announce that the two people who will be contesting the postal primary are Kelly Tolhurst and Anna Firth – two strong local candidates who you can trust to fight for your interests.

Kelly has lived and worked here all her life. The daughter of a boat builder, she now runs her own marine survey business in Rochester and has served as a local councillor for over three years. As a life-long resident who has seen our area grow and change over the years, Kelly understands the benefits new investment can provide for local people. But she has also seen the strain that excessive immigration has put on housing and our local services. So if she’s elected, Kelly will work hard to secure a better future for our area by pushing for more serious action to get immigration under control, working to improve the service at Medway Hospital, fighting for improvements to our local primary schools and helping small businesses get the government investment they need to create more jobs.

Anna lives in Kent with her husband and three children. Formerly a barrister, she now serves on the local council where she has worked to successfully secure funding for sports facilities and a new nursery, delivered changes to welfare and campaigned for the regeneration of our high streets. Growing up in Essex as the daughter of an engineer and a school teacher, and now with a son at school in Rochester and a brother who works at Medway Maritime Hospital, Anna knows the issues that matter to you because they also matter to her. If elected to serve the people of Rochester and Strood she would fight for more police on our streets to tackle anti-social behaviour, better health services and a better deal for our armed forces, to whom we owe so much.

But remember this primary process is all about you. It’s your chance to make a positive choice for the future of Rochester and Strood by selecting the Conservative Party candidate. Kelly or Anna, the decision is in your hands.

No stunts: just a strong local candidate you can trust.

36 comments for: Rochester and Strood postal primary candidates revealed: Cllr Anna Firth and Cllr Kelly Tolhurst

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