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Labour and Tory bigwigs in town

One month today, voters in Rochester and Strood will go to the polls. They'll be electing their MP after the resignation of Mark Reckless who defected to UKIP. Today both Labour and the Tories sent party bigwigs into the area in the battle for votes. David Johns reports, speaking to Labour's Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman MP, and residents of a sheltered accommodation property in Rochester.

Prime Minister campaigning in Rochester and Strood

Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: PA

David Cameron is visiting Rochester and Strood ahead of the upcoming by-election, triggered by Mark Reckless' defection from the Conservative party to UKIP.

The Prime Minister David Cameron will join Conservative postal primary candidates Kelly Tolhurst and Anna Firth for a visit to a business and a community meeting.

Tory defector Mark Reckless Credit: PA


Events to mark 30 years since Brighton bombing

A minute's silence has been held to remember the victims of the IRA bomb attack on Brighton's Grand Hotel. Tonight the man who planted the bomb is speaking at a meeting in the city. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the IRA assault on the Tory Party Conference, in 1984. Five people died and dozens were injured. Since his release from prison, Patrick Magee has been reconciled with Jo Berry, the daughter of one of his victims.

UKIP plan their next campaign - in Kent

"Next - Rochester". UKIP's aim couldn't be more direct. Last night they celebrated an historic win on the Essex coast where they seized a Tory seat. Now all eyes are on north Kent where the sitting Conservative MP has become a UKIP candidate. Just as in Essex, in fact.

In his victory speech last night, UKIP's first MP promised their people's army would head to Rochester now. The stage is set for a battle royal. David Johns has spent the day in the constituency.

He spoke to UKIP's Mark Reckless, Andrew Mackness from the Conservative Association, Labour's Naushabah Khan and Geoff Juby of the Lib Dems.

Thirty years since IRA planted bomb in Brighton's Grand Hotel

Thirty years ago this week, a massive bomb exploded in Brighton's Grand Hotel during the Tory Party Conference. The attack was the work of the Provisional IRA. Their target - the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government. She escaped unhurt, but five people were killed and 31 injured. Malcolm Shaw looks back at that extraordinary night and its legacy.

Reckless "on course for UKIP win"

Conservative defector Mark Reckless Credit: PA

Tory defector Mark Reckless is on course to win back his Commons seat in a stunning victory for Ukip, according to an opinion poll.

The eurosceptic party enjoys a nine-point lead in Rochester and Strood, the latest research conducted by Survation for the Mail on Sunday found.

It suggests David Cameron faces a tough fight to avoid a highly-damaging by-election defeat in the Kent seat.

With UKIP leader Nigel Farage Credit: PA

Mr Reckless rocked the opening of the Conservative Party conference with the announcement he was quitting to stand for Nigel Farage's outfit, just weeks after Douglas Carswell also made the switch.

While Mr Carswell is the clear favourite to become the first MP elected as a Ukip candidate in Clacton on Thursday, Mr Farage had conceded the lower personal following enjoyed by Mr Reckless made the second seat a harder prospect.

But the telephone polling, which puts Ukip ahead by 40% to 31%, will encourage his supporters and concern Conservatives, with 40% of those who voted Tory in 2010 now saying they will switch.

More than two thirds (70%) of those planning to back Ukip said it was in support of the party's policies as opposed to 18% who said it was an anti-Government protest and 12% who said they liked the candidate.

The vast majority - 88% - said they would maintain that support at next year's general election.


  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Reaction to MP's defection to Ukip

Today Mr Reckless returned to his seat of Rochester and Strood after telling the Ukip conference in Yorkshire he was jumping ship. His move has caused bitter recriminations in the constituency he has represented for four years. David Johns' report includes some flash photography. He talks to local voters, then Naushabah Khan, the Labour candidate for Rochester & Strood as well as Antony Hook who's from the south east Liberal Democrats.

  1. Sarah Saunders @SSaundersITV

UKIP leader joins the campaign trail after MP defects

As Conservatives gathered in Birmingham today for the start of the party's conference - the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, took the opportunity to introduce constituents in Rochester to his new recruit. Mark Reckless joined him as they met potential voters for the by-election he triggered with his resignation as a Tory MP for the area yesterday.

Sarah Saunders spoke to former Conservative MP Mark Reckless, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Labour candidate for the area, Naushabah Khan.

Mark Reckless joins UKIP Leader in Rochester

Mark Reckless welcomed to UKIP by party leader, Nigel Farage Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The former Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood has been in the constituency today with UKIP Leader Nigel Farage.

He appeared on stage at UKIPs conference yesterday to announce he had resigned and joined the party - in doing so he triggered a by-election.

Dover protest passed off "peacefully"

Police in Kent say a protest at Dover Eastern Docks was peaceful. A small group of protestors held a short demonstration outside the Port yesterday. Only one person was reported for summons for wilful obstruction of a highway.

They marched in support of lorry drivers. Hauliers can be hit with hefty fines if they are found carrying illegal immigrants trying to stow away in their lorries as they travel from Calais. However a number of far-right groups descended on the town to take part in the protest.

‘Through our Protest Liaison Officers, we were able to actively engage with the protestors to ensure Kent Police facilitated what was a peaceful demonstration, while at the same time ensuring public safety and allowing people to go about their daily business.

‘There was no disruption to both the Eastern and Western Docks and the impact on the highways around the Port of Dover was kept to a minimum during the protest.

‘There has been no impact on the community of Dover with Local District Policing Team officers continuing to work in their communities.’

– Steve Corbishley, Chief Superintendent of Kent Police
Police say Dover protest passed off Credit: Meridian
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