South Thanet MP says “perpetual yo-yo of open up and then lockdown” must end

Craig Mackinlay

South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay says it is time to end the “perpetual yo-yo of open up and then lockdown” of homes and businesses due to Covid.

He is one of 70 Conservatives who have signed a letter to government saying they will not support new tier measures without seeing full data on how this will slow transmission of the virus.

The letter says “The lockdown cure prescribed runs the very real risk of being worse than the disease.

“We are especially concerned about outside sport, the 10pm curfew, closure of non-essential retail, gyms and personal care businesses, restrictions on worship, care home visits, hospitality and the inclusion of children under 12 in the ‘Rule of Six.’

The MPs says there is a burden of proof on the government to show the “necessity and proportionality” of each restriction and they criticise the planned relaxation at Christmas followed by tighter rules again in January.

It adds: “We cannot live under such a series of damaging lockdowns and apparently arbitrary restrictions and expect our constituents to be grateful for being let out to enjoy the festive season only to have strict restrictions imposed on them afterwards.”


Mr Mackinlay says there needs to be an end to the ‘yo-yo’ of lockdowns.

He said: “Thanet figures for infection rates are near the worst in the country. I have been trying to get a reasoned explanation from health officials but am receiving no answers.

“As a country we are particularly good at collecting data and collating statistics but on this I am hugely disappointed. There is no publication of the stratification of age of those infected nor the likely source of infection – is it care homes, hospitals, schools, shops, places of worship or the domestic setting because of poor adherence to rules and guidance? Or is it none of these?

“I find it scarcely believable that East Kent residents are any different in their approach to anywhere else. There has to be an underlying reason. We need this data to formulate an effective strategy until vaccinations can be rolled out.

“We need to remove low-risk activities and locations from the sledgehammer of lockdown and bear down on the high risk.

“It is wonderful news that there are a variety of effective vaccines going through final testing, but the roll out across the population will take time. As I have said repeatedly, we need, in the interim, to live with this virus using common-sense measures and not enter a perpetual yo-yo of open up and then lock down. A new tiered system is likely after December 2; you can be sure that I will have my say as a critical friend of government as these proposals evolve.”

PM Boris Johnson

Later today (November 23) PM Boris Johnson is expected to announce a strengthened three-tier system once the country comes out of national lockdown on December 2 and plans for mass testing in all tier three areas, with the assistance of the military.

The exit from national lockdown appears to come with a variety of mixed messages, from strengthened tiers and  mass tests to the expectation that retail and gym businesses will be able to reopen and family and friends bubbles will be permitted at Christmas.

The news comes as Thanet is marked as one of the top ten areas with the highest infection rates in the country. Swale now has the most recorded infections across the nation. Both are likely to enter tier 3 if restrictions are imposed at district level. Kent Public Health director Andrew Scott-Clark last week said that if restrictions are based on upper tier authority areas Kent as a whole could be forced into a top tier.

He said: “We know that Kent and many districts are in a different position in terms of the number of cases per 100,000. Currently two boroughs are on the national watch list. There is a lot of discussion centrally about what the tiers may look like coming out of lockdown.”

He added: “We should know by the end of next week or early the week after what level we might come out at. There is a view, not confirmed but likely, that upper tier authorities will go in a level as a whole.”

Government dashboard data today (November 23) finally shows a drop in the rate for Thanet. The rolling 7 day rate up to November 18 is 515.8 per 100,000 with 712 cases in the last week – down 3.8%.

At smaller area level some rates in Thanet are particularly high, with Broadstairs South recording a rate of 705.9  and Ramsgate Ellington area recording a rate of 692.8 while Birchington has the lowest rate at 298 per 100,000.

The government dashboard data says 3,367 in Thanet have had a confirmed positive Covid test and there have been 139 people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Coronavirus as of 23 November. Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.

The infection rate figures, however, are different from those published by Kent Public Health for the week until November 19 which shows Thanet at 505.9 per 100,000.

Kent Public Health data says the sensitivity of RT-PCR testing methodology is reportedly poor and has been estimated to give false-negative rates between 2% and 29% of the time.

NHS data

NHS data shows that as of November 17 there were 87 beds occupied by Covid positive patients in east Kent Hospitals (Margate, Ashford and Canterbury). Eleven patients with a positive covid diagnosis were on mechanical ventilation on that date. Between November 10-16 East Kent Hospitals recorded 10 deaths of patients with a positive Covid result. There have been 499 deaths in the hospitals to date of patients recorded as having the virus.

The figures are updated daily, although there is time lag on some statistics. They can be found on the government dashboard here and here and the KCC page here

Council support

Community Helpline for anyone who needs additional support at this time. The number is 01843 577 330 and the helpline is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Funding for local businesses will open  week commencing 23 November

There is a Facebook Group to provide local businesses with information, help and support:

Thanet ‘lockdown’ 2: List of essential help services

‘Deep dive’ research to examine reasons for Covid case rises in Thanet and Swale


  1. Craig is nearly always wrong.

    As a nation we should ask his opinion and do the opposite.

    He is a self serving greedy little parasite.

  2. Agree totally with Steve. Mackinlay and his Tory mates have given billions to their chums for PPE or appointed them to important jobs for which they have no experience or qualifications. Where was the scrutiny for that? Did Mackinlay also ask financial impact assessments before voting for Brexit?? Dont think so.

  3. He really should be focusing on helping Thanet now 4th highest in the UK get the rate down, keep QEQM safe and working and keeping his constituents safe. He has failed thus far and has messaging has 100% added to the numbers of infected in Thanet.

    He needs to do his job and help Thanet stay healthy.

    Him not living here speaks volumes. He has no interest in Thanet apart from his pay and expenses. Imagine being the MP for the 4th highest covid infected area and pretending that is not important.

  4. They should have locked down during half-term! Now my kids are in and out of school isolating as different people keep getting infected in their bubbles. It’s not doing their mental health or education any good. And with this current ‘mockdown’ I can’t see that situation changing. Nearly a year’s worth of missed education. What is it going to take to get some decent leadership?

  5. I am no fan of CMacK but for once I agree with some of his points. Why allow meet ups for Christmas thus causing extra infection and NHS pressure in January?. I am also appalled that the test systen is unable to crunch the stats to show the origin of the transmission of infections. Idiocy.

  6. On the upside, right wing, off the wall reactionaries like Mackinlay, are strongly related to the anti-vaccination nutters, so with a bit of luck they all will all get Covid 19! It could save us the time and trouble of voting this carpet bagger out of Thanet, although he doesn’t live here!

  7. As he doesn’t live in Thanet it won’t affect him either way will it. Remember he is one of 70 odd Tory MPs that get an income from renting accommodation that voted against a law that said all rented homes must be fit for human occupation.

  8. “it is time to end the “perpetual yo-yo of open up and then lockdown” he says.
    The government should have locked down sooner, and stayed locked down for longer.
    As soon as the infection rate started to rise, the government should have locked down again, and stayed locked down until the infection rate was right down.
    If we follow the “advice” of these neolibertarians, infections and deaths will spiral up and up.
    How many of your elderly relatives are you prepared to kill so that you can go to the gym, Craig?

  9. For once we have an MP who thinks for his constituents and does not meekly follow the party line.

    He clearly questions the government experts who use out of date and dodgy statistics to call for Draconian laws to curb our freedoms. Free speech is already illegal unless you agree with our idiot wok brigade. What comes next?

  10. Craig Mackinlay, once a member of UKIP, voted against any bill that would help the low paid. Who is he the MP for? Thanet South, an area that has some of the poorest members of the community. So, did you vote for him? I was present at the 2015 General election, and witnessed this geek celebrating his victory about 3 hours before all the votes were in. Complete farce and pure Tory subterfuge,complete stitch up to avoid Farage, not that that was such a bad thing. He will continue to support the wealthy, usually businessmen and will only ever consider the financial side of the argument. Money over lives. Tory mantra as always.

  11. Frothing at the mouth comments say more about the people making them. . Guess oxygen deprivation has got to them and they beg for continual imprisonment from the real world. Sad really. MPs of any political persuasion are quite right to vote against lockdowns, or mini lockdowns, which kill more people than the virus itself. The harm is now well documented extensively by medical/scientific/mental health/business experts etc. – let alone the millions of thinking people across the world. The destruction is already clear to see in terms of medical conditions not attended to; a mental health crisis through the imposed isolation measures and fear messages; wide scale losses of jobs and failure of businesses; the halting of any meaningful education and social interaction for the young and a break down in care for the vulnerable. This crisis is way beyond politics now across the world. Some must live in such insular worlds not to see this. It is so intriguing to see that some Tory back benchers are the freedom fighters while the left seem complete cowards on fighting for the rights of anyone. Not that left vs right means anything in this divide and rule game. Generosity of spirit and some humanity is needed right now. Not tedious old hat name calling.

    • The highest amount of deaths due to Covid 19, in any country, is the USA, with over 250,000, and the greatest amount of Cases in any country, why? Its because they have not had any countrywide Lockdown or Social Distancing policies, why? Its because its the land of the free, Duurh!

    • Even if people are staying at home, they open the windows. So no, “oxygen deprivation” has not “got to them”/

    • ” MPs of any political persuasion are quite right to vote against lockdowns, or mini lockdowns, which kill more people than the virus itself. ”
      And your evidence to support this absurd statement is .. ?

  12. MPs of any colour are quite right to campaign against the destructive nature of lockdowns and mini ones as well. The harm is well documented now across the world by numerous experts in their fields, and anyone who just results to name calling might be suffering from oxygen deprivation perhaps, or have a very insular view of the world. Left vs right just does not hack it any more. This crisis is far bigger than that. Ironically many back bench Tories are now the freedom fights and the left seem to be cowards who beg for imprisonment and curtailing of civil liberties. And saving granny just doesn’t hack it either. Many older people are pretty vocal in wanting liberty for their populations and the issues of false positive and unreliable testing is also well documented.

    • Why do you suppose that World Governments of every stripe are applying a lockdown strategy of one sort or another? Is it an international plot to wreck the world’s economy?
      Or could it be that most political leaders are concerned about the welfare of the most vulnerable in society, and are not prepared to barter their lives just so you can go down the pub.
      And there might well be a clamour from neoliberals the world over for our “freedom”. But fortunately real science holds away.

  13. There’s a difference between”wanting liberty” and doing whatever you want. It’s more sensible to avoid-as far as possible- the kind of behaviour which puts you at risk of getting coronavirus than it is to engage in it.

  14. MPs like this tw*t are not worried about your life at all. Money is all he is interested in. he and hisfhums in government are a disgrace as far as I am concerned. how many deaths will it take to open there closed eyes.

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