Opinion: MP Craig Mackinlay -Animal exports, Summer Kitchen, trip to Hungary and Brexit

Craig Mackinlay

The foul trade of live animal exports out of Ramsgate has been an unwelcome feature of July and August, always reaching peak annual activity around the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. I joined campaigners at one of the transports as I always do when my diary permits. For all the doom and gloom about Brexit, entirely without foundation in my view, the new team at DEFRA including The Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP and Zac Goldsmith MP, both of whom I have worked with on the issue of live exports, gives a clear steer as to where policy should be heading after our withdrawal from the EU on 31st October. I hope, along with a huge majority of local residents, that this will be the last year we’ll see Ramsgate port used for this activity.

Summer Kitchen

It is always a pleasure to support Sharon Goodyer and her ‘Summer Kitchen’ which brings the community together for activities and her nutritious home-cooked food over the summer holiday period. This opens a wider debate about cooking skills, unhealthy additives in our processed food and domestic budgeting. I have committed myself to work further with Sharon over the coming months.

Family logistics

Myself and family have had a few days away in Hungary to visit my wife’s family. An annual trip but that much more logistically complex this year with our new baby, Olivia. Whereas we used to whistle through the airport with minimal baggage, the added dimension of pram, baby clothes, nappies, toys and of course the little one makes the airport experience, never a joy in anyone’s book, a true nightmare. I now know what many of you have been going through all these years. I recall writing at a similar time last year about Debrecen airport: an old military base virtually within the city, now transformed and growing each year as passenger and logistics flights increase and with it an increasing number of associated businesses. Sound familiar?

‘Cultural heritage’

Whilst commenting on Hungary, which politically gets its share of negative press under the Fidesz government which dominates nationally and locally (it is obviously doing plenty right in the view of the electorate), I was struck by the liberal amount of Palinka, the snapps style, high strength, fruit brandy that is offered by hosts upon even the most casual of meetings. Some years ago the government allowed each person to distil 50 litres per year free of tax for domestic consumption. How anybody could possibly drink this much per year eludes me.

The EU took Hungary to the European Court of Justice for this policy, on the basis of duty evasion, and won. The Hungarian government’s response – this is ‘cultural heritage’ so we’re taking no notice. This should be our current response to madcap expensive rulings of the ECJ, the latest of which could see the final banning of red diesel for boat use in the UK, and with it a dangerous inability to refuel along the coast as sellers simply will not wish to invest in new tanks on such a low-margin product.


Obviously this, and other lunatic EU pronouncements can be a thing of the past in a couple of months’ time. As we return to Parliament, there are many forces still unreconciled to the biggest democratic vote (to leave) ever seen. They will fail as we see proposals to install Jeremy Corbyn or Kenneth Clarke as temporary Prime Ministers similarly fade away as reality returns after the summer recess.

I’m delighted that measures are being taken to ensure that a no-deal Brexit will work if the Commission refuses to rethink the now dead Withdrawal Agreement. The signing of the ‘Commencement Order’ to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act was a totemic signal that we mean what we say. A great few weeks for Boris Johnson and his new team with pledges to increase police numbers, wider use of stop and search, more prison places and sentencing to more properly reflect the severity of the crime, more funding for the NHS and schools. Expect similar good news in the Autumn budget.


  1. Craig, thank you for seeing the people in Thanet who are struggling In local austerity, with sharon I was able to unlock the gates in local schools and with help from local individuals and businesses allow some people with children to survive the summer. One problem has been this year is the cuts to child benefits. How did you vote on limiting child benefit to the first 2 children only,

      • Under Universal Credit only children born before a certain date are included in the benefit. Bearing in mind, before anyone says’ Don’t have children if you can’t afford them’, please remember life can take a sudden turn through illness, bereavement, redundancy etc. As someone who volunteered at the Summer Kitchen last year (had two eye operations this summer so not able to help) I know only too well from speaking to families there how their lives got turned upside down through crises with many causes. To see families enjoying healthy food together helped bring a smile to many faces.

  2. Broadstairs resident….. it was introduced in the 2015 summer budget!!! Check it out on gov uk,

    • I did…
      It’s not retrospective. Isn’t it new claims from Feb 2019?
      This is from gov.uk…
      You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for one or more children under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

  3. Dear Craig,
    I am glad you enjoyed your holiday in Hungary, but do remember you are representing South Thanet and so far all you have done is watch over a failing local economy, buoyed up with boosterism about fake ferry companies and airline operations that may never happen.
    Hungary is a poor example to extol or praise, as it seems to be heading on a collision course with the EU, because of its anti democratic leanings and extremist nationalism.
    A true patriot, Craig, loves their country, but does not exclude on grounds of race,creed,colour,gender or sexuality.That’s what our flag and our values represent; not narrow minded ideology or nationalism.
    Hungary yearns for the dominance it once enjoyed within the Dual monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian empire and it has never forgiven or forgotten the treaty of Trianon in 1920.
    Some in Britain cannot think beyond some of the myths of 1940,failing to understand either the history or the lessons to be drawn of that era.Instead you and politicians like you are complacently riding the tiger of discontent and militant nostalgia, while trusting that it does not swallow you whole.
    It would be really peachy, if you could address the problems of homelessness, food,fuel rent poverty etc, poor educational attainment, high levels of unemployment, lack of connectivity, poor infrastructure and dysfunctional local governance etc etc in South Thanet, for a change, or perhaps you are intending to live and work in Hungary, as it seems to suit your sunny disposition.

  4. I must Craig is doing a great job big increase in Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and jaguar’s in the area his people are getting alot richer well done ……me worked all my life paid into a private pension since I was 17,than the bankers screwed us over ,my body is knackered, looks like I will need to work till I die. The homelessness is on the increase but do Tories care of course not…..they just look after themselves.

  5. Be daft enough to give me your votes again and I will give you anything and everything you want and need.
    However after the Election I will have to follow Tory party policy and do my best to screw you at every opportunity.
    Kind regards Old Craig xx.

  6. – dear Craig I so need your help with bad neighbours with barking dog issues and various other issues many thanks

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