Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 14:58 UK

Rochester candidates claim credit for saving St Peter's

"Save our school" poster at St Peter's Infants
Medway Council reversed its decision to close St Peter's

A Kent school saved from closure after a parent-led campaign has found itself at the centre of an election row.

The Labour and Conservative candidates for Rochester and Strood said they played a key role in reversing Medway Council's decision to shut St Peter's.

Labour's Teresa Murray said she had been alongside parents "since day one" whilst Tory Mark Reckless said he had "played a central role".

Lib Dem Geoff Juby also said he had voted against the proposal.

Ms Murray is set to visit the primary school alongside Children's Secretary Ed Balls.

'Fantastic campaign'

She said: "We are celebrating with (Mr Balls) our success, and to me St Peter's epitomizes everything we have achieved with Labour.

"They have had a £3m investment and there's a classroom assistant in every class.

"I hope the parents would say from day one I have been there with them because it was a fantastic campaign."

He would be better advised to concentrate on his own constituency
Conservative candidate Mark Reckless

Mr Reckless said: "I joined the campaign and demanded publicly and privately that the Conservative council reverse its decision and keep it open.

"I would give all credit to the parents but I played a central role."

He added: "(Mr Balls) would be better advised to concentrate on his own constituency."

Mr Juby said: "I was involved with the campaign but not as much as Teresa Murray."

Referring to Mr Reckless' claims, he added: "It's ridiculous when it was the Conservatives who wanted to close the school."

Medway Council announced in April 2009 it was considering the future of three schools as it restructured education and reduced surplus places.

Thousands of people supported campaigns to keep all three, but councillors chose to close St John's and Ridge Meadow schools, while saving St Peter's.

Candidates standing in Rochester and Strood are: Lib Dem: Geoff Juby; Green: Simon Marchant; Labour: Teresa Murray; Conservative: Mark Reckless; English Democrats: Ron Sands.



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