Opinion: Craig Mackinlay MP – Game -playing in Parliament

Craig Mackinlay

In my last column I forecast a week to remember with the prospect of the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands war. That came and went as a complete waste of time as Parliament refused to vote to consider a ‘Meaningful Vote’ required under s13 of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018.

Perversely this requirement to hold such a vote was inserted by a contentious amendment into the Bill during 2017 as it progressed through its Parliamentary stages by the usual suspects intent on wrecking Brexit. It was therefore ironic that the same people led the charge to prevent such a vote from taking place when offered in the terms that they had previously successfully argued for! This exemplifies what we Brexiteers have been up against over the past three and a half years within this remain dominated Parliament.

As to the revised Withdrawal Agreement itself: it is far from perfect, but does remove the ‘Backstop’ and the previous direction of travel towards perpetual alignment with EU rules and a Customs Union as the final destination of our future relationship within Theresa May’s dreadful deal which was truly Brexit in Name Only (BRINO). The revised Political Declaration points to a Canada style free trade agreement and complete freedom to pursue new international trade deals. Commentators said that the old Withdrawal Agreement would never be re-opened but the new Prime Minister proved them wrong.

Some will say that this deal is an incomplete Brexit. In some ways it is, but it is infinitely better than the previous offering. As in life, we need to consider all options, make, at times, unwelcome compromises in an imperfect world and move on. If I felt that further delay would lead to a ‘No-deal’ Brexit or an improved deal around the corner if I’d have voted this down as I did three times previously when faced with Theresa May’s deal, then I would have done. You can be sure that the temptation for me to continue a path of purity was there, but this does not recognise the facts as to where we are, and the real danger as to where we may end up – with no Brexit at all. Hence I voted for it at second reading.

We have a remain dominated Parliament intent on giving more of a say on Britain’s future to the EU than to ourselves. The Benn/Surrender Act, shamefully pushed through Parliament after seizing control of the order paper with one day’s notice and four hours of debate, showed too clearly what we are up against. A general election is the cleanser we need.

This would, historically have been the case were it not for the Fixed Term Parliament Act which has delivered the choice of when to hold an election to the Opposition. Despite calling for an election, virtually weekly since 2017, they don’t now seem to want one now it’s offered. I want an election, the country needs an election but we are unable to have one because of HM Opposition who are simply frightened of one. What a mess, meaning our imminent departure from the EU is unlikely and has been stymied by others.

More game-playing is forecast this week; I won’t even attempt at a forecast. A General Election in early December? Maybe not until the spring of 2020 or 2021? Your guess is as good as mine, but all the while and understandably, any remaining trust in democracy ebbs away still further.

In the constituency, I was delighted to nominate Sharon Goodyear’s Thanet Summer Kitchen for a national ‘Kids Count inspiration award’. Sharon and her team won and I was delighted to present her with the award in Parliament. Truly amazing. I’ve been at many meetings with Cabinet Members responsible for Kent Brexit planning. All is at a good state of readiness no matter what happens; do not believe the scare stories. The annual Thanet branch of the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Winter Gardens was, as ever, superb. Congratulations to all.


  1. Thanks Craig for giving us some insight into the chaotic situation in the House of Commons these days. The whole country is suffering from Brexit fatigue, as well as the EU who have tried to find a solution. Most people just want it sorted ONE WAY or ANOTHER and SOON. Please!

  2. I used to vote Tory but never again. I will be voting LibDems in the election. We have been told if the brexit Party link with the Tories they will walk the general election. If they do there will be thousands of others walking to the unemployed office.

  3. I find it quite ironic that people want Brexit so that we can regain our Sovereignty. That’s the Sovereignty that Boris tried to take away by illegally proroging Parliament and lying to our Sovereign, the Queen.
    You didn’t mention any of that, Craig.
    You failed to mention that our Sovereign Parliament passed the Boris Bill last week with a majority of 52%

  4. Well done sharon goodyer for representing us at Parliament, I had a dream about the project, without you my dream would never have become reality. We shouldn’t have families in the 21st century in the fifth richest country not knowing how they are going to feed their children. Craig you might be proud of the prize giving, are you equally proud of the Tory austerity that caused the problem.

    • Surely the problem was caused by the incompetent previous Labour government – they even left a note saying “good luck,there’s no money” – or have you forgotten that?

  5. According to the PM and Craig, all we have to do is mark this trifling piece of paper (an election ballot paper) with an X and all our troubles will be over.Do you really think that’s true?
    Is calling those who disagree with you unpatriotic, or in someway ‘surrendering to the EU’, likely to bring the nation together?
    As Brexit often seems to bring forth images of Dunkirk, Spitfires and Hitler would you like to remind everyone of the Conservative party’s treatment of those who disagree with a narrow party line? How about all those one nation conservatives, Like Kenneth Clarke or Amber Rudd?
    What happened after a group of Tory MP’s rebelled in September 1938 after the shameful Munich agreement? Was it not true that the Epping Conservative association tried to place a vote of no confidence against W.S.Churchill?
    Is the Conservative party merely repeating its tendency to crush dissent?
    There is a perfectly valid case for supporting a Brexit, which allows the UK to leave with dignity, yet retain our links of trade and friendship with the EU.The latest ‘deal’ is not such a case, it is a botched, lash up, which throws the Conservatives own ally, the DUP, under a bus.What sort of ally does that to its friends, and what sort of United Kingdom will we be left with?

  6. Let’s not forget that Mr Mackinlay “forgot” to mention that he is MD of an airline company when making a speech in the HoC about Manston; that his aide was found guilty of falsifying expenses at the last election ( there’s no suggestion at all that Mr M, an accountant, had any knowledge of what was going on); that he voted against keeping the Stroke Unit at QEQM.

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