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Kelly Jane Tolhurst[2] (born 23 August 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rochester and Strood since the May 2015 general election.[3] Tolhurst currently serves as Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She is a former Councillor for the Rochester West ward on Medway Council.[4]

Kelly Tolhurst
Official portrait of Kelly Tolhurst crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility
Assumed office
19 July 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byAndrew Griffiths
Member of Parliament
for Rochester and Strood
In office
8 May 2015 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byMark Reckless
Succeeded byElection in progress1
Majority9,850 (18.3%)
Member of Medway Council
for Rochester West Ward
In office
5 May 2011 – 12 January 2018[1]
Preceded byMark Reckless
Succeeded byAlex Paterson
Personal details
Kelly Jane Tolhurst

(1978-08-23) 23 August 1978 (age 41)
Rochester, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
WebsiteCampaign website

Early lifeEdit

Tolhurst was born in Rochester ; her father was a local boat builder, Morris Tolhurst. She was educated locally at Chapter High School.[5] From 2008, she ran a marine survey business, called Tolhurst Associates, with her father, with employment in marketing previous to this point.[6][7]

Political careerEdit

Tolhurst was elected to the Rochester West ward on Medway Council in 2011 and served as a councillor until 2018 when she resigned. In the by-election for the ward that followed in March 2018, the seat was taken by the Labour candidate Alex Paterson.[8][9] She was selected to contest the 2014 Rochester and Strood by-election which was triggered by the defection of Mark Reckless to UKIP.[10] Tolhurst lost the by-election, held on 20 November 2014, but regained the seat for the Conservatives at the 2015 general election six months later, securing a majority of over 7,000.[11] She was re-elected in 2017.

Tolhurst has served on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, the European Scrutiny Committee and the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.[12] She was made an assistant government whip during the reshuffle on 9 January 2018.[13]

Tolhurst was appointed the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 19 July 2018.[14]

Tolhurst campaigned to remain in the European Union prior to the 2016 referendum.[15]


  1. ^ Hoare, Gavin. "Resignation of Councillor Kelly Tolhurst".
  2. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11776.
  3. ^ "Election 2015: Rochester & Strood parliamentary constituency". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ "MP resigns as local councillor". Kent Online. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Personal website". MP. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (14 October 2014). "Stay-at-home mother lined up to halt Ukip advance". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  7. ^ Letts, Quentin (22 July 2015). "Stay-at-home mother lined up to halt Ukip advance". Tatler. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Previews: 08 Mar 2018". 7 March 2018.
  9. ^ Francis, Paul (23 October 2014). "Medway councillor Kelly Tolhurst beats Anna Firth to become the Conservative candidate for the Rochester and Strood by-election". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Rochester byelection: Tories select local businesswoman Kelly Tolhurst". The Guardian. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  11. ^ Hartley-Parkinson, Richard (8 May 2015). "Tories get revenge on Mark Reckless by taking seat back from Ukip". Metro. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Parliamentary profile". GOV. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  13. ^ Walker, Peter (9 January 2018). "Theresa May's junior ministerial reshuffle: who's in and who's out". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Kelly Tolhurst MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  15. ^ "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016.

External linksEdit