This week the Prime Minister delivered a reshuffle of her government team, and I was extremely honoured to have been asked to join her team as a Government Whip. After discussions with colleagues and residents it is clear I am unable to carry on with my role as a local authority councillor without conflict. This has meant that, with the heaviest of hearts, I am having to resign as a councillor for Rochester West.
I first stood as a councillor in 2011, to represent the ward where I lived and to make a difference to my community. Since then I have been elected as the Member of Parliament and have managed to carry out both roles without complications, representing the constituency in Parliament and Rochester West at Council.

I came in to politics to represent and make a difference to the place where I was born and where I have lived all my life, and to make a difference to the lives of the people that live here. Working solely as the Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood I now have the opportunity to represent the whole of the constituency at the highest level and believe that this decision is without doubt the best thing for both the constituency and the ward of Rochester West.
As with all our council wards, Rochester West and its residents deserve full attention to ensure it continues to be a great place to live and work. I have loved my time as a Medway councillor, working alongside fellow Conservative colleagues, and I am proud of what I have been able to achieve in this role.
I love this place I have called home my whole life and, whilst I will no longer be a councillor, nothing will change and I will continue to do what I have been doing for the last 6 years; fighting for and representing the people of Rochester West along with the whole of this constituency.
I want to thank you for your continued support, and also Cllr Stuart Tranter who has been a passionate and determined ward colleague since his election in 2015. I will be working closely with the association to support the new candidate selected to fight for Rochester West.
I am now looking forward to taking up my new role and making sure that the needs and wants of our constituency are heard across Government during the challenges ahead.
Kelly Tolhurst
Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood