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Liberal Democrats select three candidates to stand in General Election in Medway

With a General Election on the horizon, the Lib Dems have announced their three parliamentary candidates for Medway.

Although no date has been set for when the country goes to the polls, candidates are stepping forward to try and attract votes.

Graham Colley is standing in Rochester and Strood
Graham Colley is standing in Rochester and Strood

The Liberal Democrats announced on January 6 who will stand for them in Rochester and Strood, Chatham and Aylesford, and Gillingham and Rainham.

For Rochester and Strood, taking on incumbent Kelly Tolhurst (Con), will be Graham Colley, a solicitor and former Kent county councillor for Medway South between 1989 and 1998.

He was the party’s candidate for the seat in 2019 where he placed third, and was also the Lib Dem’s candidate for Kent Police and Crime Commissioner in 2021.

He’ll be competing with Lauren Edwards, the Labour party candidate, and Daniel Dabin, who is standing for the Reform Party, to unseat the Conservatives who have held the constituency since 2015.

In Chatham and Aylesford, the Lib Dems have chosen Nicholas Chan, a former psychologist who is now entering criminal law, as their candidate.

Nicholas Chan, Lib Dem candidate for Chatham and Aylesford
Nicholas Chan, Lib Dem candidate for Chatham and Aylesford

Following the announcement, Mr Chan on X, formerly Twitter, said: “An honour to be selected for the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Candidate for Chatham and Aylesford.

“I know freedom can't be taken for granted and justice is a virtue. I am humbled to have the privilege to stand for values, secure and free, in this country.”

Mr Chan was one of three Lib Dem contenders for the Rainham North ward in the latest local elections in May 2023 where he gained the lowest number of votes.

He’ll be challenging the current MP Tracey Crouch (Con) who has held the seat since 2010 and competing for votes with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Steve Tanner.

Labour have not yet selected their candidate for the seat, but Medway Council cabinet member Cllr Tristan Osborne officially launched his campaign to be selected on January 2.

Stuart Bourne will be standing in Gillingham and Rainham
Stuart Bourne will be standing in Gillingham and Rainham

For the seat of Gillingham and Rainham, currently held by Tory Rehman Chishti, the Lib Dems have chosen Stuart Bourne.

Mr Bourne has stood for Medway Council on three occasions previously, twice for the Labour group in 2007 and 2011 and then for the Liberal Democrats in 2023.

He has previously worked as project manager for the Ministry of Defence and a senior gardener at Buckingham Palace between 2012 and 2019.

Speaking on X, Mr Bourne said: “I’m honoured to have been selected as the PPC for Gillingham and Rainham.

“I’m ready to take on the Tories, who have allowed our towns to decline and poverty to rise. I’m ready to stand up for the liberal values that make our country great.”

Labour’s cllr Naushabah Khan will also be fighting for the seat, as will Reform’s Rizvi Rawoof and the SDP’s Peter Wheeler.

Lynn Ibeji, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said: "We are delighted to announce Graham, Nicholas and Stuart as our candidates to represent Medway Liberal Democrats and to fight the upcoming General Election.

“All three candidates are natural enthusiastic campaigners, involved in a wide range of issues from human rights and civil liberties to education, health and environmental standards.

“They stand up for residents and communities day in, day out. They have experience across the public, private and charitable sectors, and know how to get things done.

“At the next General Election, people will have the chance to vote for Stuart, Graham and Nicholas and gain three hard-working MPs whose work ethic and dedication to the community are beyond reproach."

Rishi Sunak has said his working assumption is the General Election will take place in the second half of this year.

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