South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: PM, Manston, buses and energy cap

Craig Mackinlay

We live through the last week of the Johnson administration with a new leader of the Conservative Party, and therefore Prime Minister, to be announced within days.

Historians will write extensively about this short period of tenure possibly like no other given events of the huge majority achieved in 2019, Brexit, the pandemic and the Ukraine war. The means by which the Conservative Party changes Prime Minister mid-term is by itself riddled with peculiarities. It is the Party’s MPs, via the Parliamentary Party’s rules (of the 1922 Committee) that permits a sufficient caucus of MPs to initiate a dethronement. There is no written constitutional status of PM, who is, by convention across all political parties, the figurehead put there by acclamation of the MPs of the biggest Party returned at a general election. In the not too distant past, given that it is the MPs who are required for ongoing support of the Government’s agenda by Parliamentary votes (hence the ‘whipping’ system), the head of the Parliamentary Party and therefore PM was decided by those MPs who have to work with him or her. There is a logical basis for that but not unreasonably, and similar applies in the Labour Party, newer rules put a shortlist to the broader membership for their decision to prevail.

Within the Labour Party they allow their paymaster Trade Unions an influence as well. Others might point to the fact that because of the way modern election campaigns are framed and media interest thereafter, much is focused on the leader and hence a change of leader should lead to a general election. This is not how our constitution works for reasons given, we do not have a ‘Presidential’ style of government, merely MPs in constituencies who form the building blocks of a Parliamentary majority.

I was delighted to see a renewed positive Development Consent Order for Manston airport announced. The mere fact that 700 acres of mainly brownfield local land could remain in limbo for so long with uncertainty stretching across eight years was ridiculous no matter what one’s viewpoint. Indeed if the decision had gone the other way it would at least have allowed us to know where we are and plan something different. We now have a path to pursue.

We have to recognise that East Kent, blessed as it is with its tourism appeal (despite the best efforts of Southern Water to upset it), cannot survive on seasonal trade alone with its inherent high peaks and low troughs. We are not best placed geographically to attract high employment businesses but contra to that Discovery Park continues to thrive, particularly in hi-tech start-ups which is hugely positive. We were blessed through historical happenstance with an airport. It is a plain fact that areas with an airport have thriving economies, not just on the back of jobs relating directly to airport operations but in logistics and other ‘place to be’ industries as well.

Let us work together to make the most of the opportunity given to us. The other brownfield site which continues to frustrate, with similar discussions over a longer period of uncertainty, is Ramsgate port and I continue, on an almost weekly basis, to examine all options that will maximise local employment, add value and wealth and stop the annual haemorrhaging of cash that is a drain on local taxpayers. The Levelling Up grant to Ramsgate offers a once in a generation opportunity as a kick-starter.

The loss of bus services has rightly caused local anguish. I have had numerous exchanges and meetings with Stagecoach to try to soften the blow with some limited success. What we have seen is a perfect storm on the back of the result of the Covid lockdown combined with Kent County Council also having to look at the real cost of, in some cases, little used supported services across Kent. All local authorities across the country face similar challenges.

The weave of bus company revenues is a complex one; it would be fair to say that these are not private companies reliant on the market in any real sense once the mix of taxpayer funded free bus passes for the elderly and disabled, Kent County Council Travel Saver schemes for the youth and supported routes are included. The bus companies face a stark reality in the face of higher wages and driver shortages, increased fuel costs and the demand for newer ‘greener’ bus fleets. Some routes were losing £50,000 a year on a pure cash basis as travelling numbers across all types had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

I have long advocated ‘car share’ and similar schemes. I can be sure that no matter where you live, there’d be a car driver going exactly where you’d want to go, probably on a minute-by-minute basis. There’d be obvious hurdles to overcome – insurance, safety and a myriad of other bureaucratic barriers that we’ve put up in modern Britain to frustrate a good idea but I think worth looking at again with the seriousness it deserves.

The ‘illegal’ crossings of the channel continues, seemingly unabated. This is a topic in itself which I will be taking up with the new administration but, as ever, I will report to you my thoughts at greater length over the weeks ahead.

Finally, the newly announced ‘cap’ on average domestic energy at £3,500 per year is clearly unsustainable. I touched on the pluses and minuses of options available in my last piece. We can be sure that there will be a revised support scheme coming as the new costs are simply unaffordable.

The reason I ‘bang on’ about energy so much and why I formed the Net Zero Scrutiny Group is precisely for this reason, formed long before Putin’s illegal war made a bad situation even worse. This is reality time; advanced economies need growth and a buoyant economy to pay for public services. We need domestic energy security, internationally competitive prices and an energy mix that works. Those ideal time to have made the tough decisions was ten years ago. The second best time is now.


  1. Forget the airport; we need a thriving seaport instead. We are only 30 miles from the European mainland and we should be trading with our nearest neighbours rather than flying goods from the other side of the world. I thought Britain was a proud seafaring nation, so why pollute our skies with noisy, antisocial machines?

    • Because he owns a dormant company called MAMA Airlines, intending to fly from Manston to Malaga…?

      • I spent years near Heathrow. There is a constant aircraft hum. Aircraft taking off are audible for miles, particularly at night. They bank and turn so areas not in line with the runways have planes flying low overhead. There is a noticeable layer of black grime on everything. Planes SHOULDNT drop their excess fuel before landing but I’ve seen them doing it. Developing Ramsgate port is the greenest most exciting development which will bring jobs and develop Thanet

    • Our waters are catering for dinghies full of mostly men coming here.
      Yes we should be making use of the ocean and also use the train system at night for transporting goods around the country to nearest depots for delivery thereby cutting congestion on the roads too.

      • Dear Mrs Corfe, the reason why there are people crossing the Channel is because they can’t be sent back to the first EU country they arrived at, which they were when we were in the EU! So, the easiest way to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel in unseaworthy boats, is to re-join the EU, and it would stop overnight! Moving on though, our chocolate tea pot for South Thanet waffles on about there Prime Minister is elected by “Acclamation”, what? Does he think we live in the Roman empire? What a way to run a country, why can’t the people ELECT the Prime Minister?

        Mackinlay is a traitor, extolling the virtues of reopening Manston, which if it does will destroy Ramsgate with its “tourism appeal”, especially the Harbour with low flying aircraft prior to landing at just 300 meters high! There will be no “thriving economy” if this mad idea gets off the ground, literally! The man will sell Ramsgate down the river if he gets re-elected!

    • “We are only 30 miles from the European mainland and we should be trading with our nearest neighbours rather than flying goods from the other side of the world.”

      Yeah, its almost as if Brexit (erg) backing Craig knew that, yet voted against the countries trading interests anyway…

  2. I see McKinley labels the trade unions as Labour’s paymasters. Well, I would rather have that than a party that is funded by Russian oligarchs and property developers which is very much the case for the Tory party.

    • Your right Markmywords, the Labour party was formed by trade unions, and the members can donate if they choose to! Our chocolate tea pot for South Thanet should bone up on his history before making untrue statements!

  3. “It is a plain fact that areas with an airport have thriving economies”. Oh dear, a big logic fail there as it is the other way round. Areas with thriving economies or large populations have caused nearby airports to develop. Manchester, Gatwick and Heathrow were all once small WW2 airfields. Did Thanet have a thriving economy between 1989 and 2014 when we ‘had’ an airport?

  4. ‘Car share’ when your bus service is removed? Wow, why didn’t we think of that instead of trying to appeal to Stagecoach to reconsider?

    The issue for many is that their neighbours don’t have cars because they’re elderly/non-drivers/can no longer afford to run their vehicle due to escalating prices across the board.

    What about the £millions given to KCC for ‘bus improvements’ like bus lanes? Not much use if there aren’t buses around.

    What about the £100m+ given to some areas to keep buses running? Didn’t much of that go to the so-called ‘Red Wall constituencies’ when the Mayors appealed for support?

    • Well put Jenny, areas that managed to keep their bus well done, but cold comfort to Thanet when we all tried to keep ours.

  5. What a rubbish piece!
    No apology for the tedious process of appointing a PM, a pathetic dig at another party, a bit of self interest around the airport, failure to own up to allowing the mess created by Southern Water, car sharing instead of buses(really?!) – oh, and by the way 25,000 illegal crossings and an energy crisis.
    What about the cost of living crisis, levelling up left behind areas (Thanet), or more locally planning reform and the extra 4,000 houses for Thanet? The list could go on and on – the point being he has no idea what matters to local people.

    • Well put, we have a water crisis amongst lots of other things, too nameless to mention and more houses being built and lack of jobs and investment in Thanet.
      I pity our young in the area, what is there to look forward to for them.

        • That may be the case, but getting to places is a problem, lack of bus due to cuts and affording the fare. Trains are too expensive. If you have a car and can afford it that’s fine BUT MANY DO NOT HAVE THIS LUXURY.

          • That was 6000 within 10 miles so there will be a good few much closer, walk, bicycle? Or do the unemployed only want jobs that cause no more inconvenience than they have relying on benefits.

        • “There are over 6,000 vacancies within ten miles of Ramsgate. ”

          How many of those are PT, or zero hour contracts, or specialist openings that require certification/degrees, Ewan?

          How many of those are easily reachable (in terms of time spent commuting and COST) by public transport, Ewan?

          You seem to have all the answers?

    • Agree wit you Blue Fox
      I emailed the boy Mackinley a couple of years ago stating that after Brexit the border would move from France to
      England He proudly boasted that the border was secure !
      He’s an ex UK opportunist You cannot trust the fellow,

  6. It doesnt matter what Mr Mackinlay thinks anymore.All the hollow promises from his party are now coming to an end.The state of Thanets litter problem,industial levels of weed neglect,poor road markings,closing of bus routes etc are his legacy.
    Where are the benefits of Brexit?.I will not be voting Tory under this regime.

    • The only people that care about Thanet are the people who live there, we seem to be neglected in more areas than I care to think about.
      We are at the tip in danger of dropping off the end.

      • Craig lives in Medway, last I heard. Far from Thanet as can be. He only ever turns up when there is a self promotion angle/photo op for him.

  7. Markmy words get your facts correct, the 9 councils that have a stake in Manchester Airport collectively made £32 million each profit alone from the airports profits, which helped to keep local council tax bills lower than any council in the north west of England, I am sure that Thanet District Council will also benefit from the business tax it will receive from the Manston Airport site as well as the surrounding new attributed business to the airport, such as engineering companies, HGV, storage depots etc. Local people in decent paid jobs paying council tax rather than claiming Council Tax benefits will also help TDC. win win win!

    • Eh? the facts I cited were that Manchester airport, among others, grew from small beginnings. The reason they grew was that they were conveniently situated for large centres of population and commerce. This is not the case for Manston otherwise it would have grown in size rather than being a commercial failure under four different owners.

    • Not win win win if the cargo airport damages already established local businesses! 32mill for manchester, a much more central, busy, airport, so we can assume that it would be 3mill for Manston. Tourism alone brought £320mill to the local economy.

      ‘Local people’? RSP said they consider local anybody within 60 minutes of the site!

    • “which helped to keep local council tax bills lower than any council in the north west of England,”

      As someone who spent a large amount of their life in the north west(40+ years), specifically Rusholme/Didsbury in Manchester, Chorley, Preston and Wigan…you’re talking quantifiable b0ll0cks.

      Makes your claim of “get your facts correct” even more hilarious.

  8. “Within the Labour Party they allow their paymaster Trade Unions an influence as well.”

    What is wrong with me having a say ?

    You Tories are funded by large companies and rich people. Only a small percentage of the population. Tories give tax cuts to the well of and increase the burden on the working classes and the poor pensioners.

    You know dam well manston is a non starter.
    You know no one is going to invest 500 million into a company run by a struck off solicitor.
    You know manston is geography in a poor location.
    You know a two lane thanet way and M2 cant cope with hundreds of extra HVG and fuel tankers.
    You know it’s going to be to expansive for planes to refuel at manston.
    You know they isnt enough run off area at the end of the runway to meet the latest requirements.

    Why are you misleading some of the people of thanet ?

    • Now you have had your rant…we need to invest in Thanet, more investment and more jobs. Flights would be shorter for a start and more land could be purchased for the purpose of roads and car parks. If people can travel to Gatwick and Heathrow etc they can travel to Thanet, we do it to these airports they can do it to ours if we open Manston. Manston could be adapted just think outside the box. After all Manston was the only place concord to do an emergency landing.

      • So Mrs Kathleen Corfe

        Do you really think that the government is going to turn the thanet way and the M2 into 4 lanes like at other cargo hubs ?

        Do you think the government is going to pay for manston to go on the aviation fuel grid ?

        Where are they going to move the B2190 and also move the Smugglers leap ? To extend the run off area ?

        Like Concord, manston is in the past.

        • Manston was *one* of the places Concorde could land at in emergency, not the *only* one.
          And having an emergency runway for a long defunct aircraft isn’t justification for an airport.
          And when it was open, too few people from east Kent chose to fly from it. If you lived west of Canterbury, it was quicker to go to Gatwick. That’s why it lost £10,000 a day, and eventually went bust having lost tens of millions.

        • Most in my opinion are all say and no do.
          All the public would like to see them open and honest, promises, promises but no delivery.

    • Mr X, its to get re-elected! Mackinlay, and Gale are going for the “Popular Vote”, because the conservative vote is falling nationally!

  9. If we had politicians that were Honest and Trustworthy it would be like a “Breath of Fresh air” , will it happen is doubtful.
    It’s like a never-ending nightmare !

    • WELL PUT. Craig should have tried out local buses, then he would know what we were all talking about. But as usual no support for the locals.

      • It’s not just Craig though, is it. Perhaps we should ask every cllr in Thanet if they use buses. I know that Jenny Matterface does, and I suspect so do a few others. Chances are though, the majority from all parties do NOT.

          • Can well believe that, wonder if they still have that car and dog, obviously did not appreciate the local parks.

        • Peter, I am no longer a TDC councillor but when I was I did use buses but on occasions did ask for a lift home after an evening council meeting if one wasn’t already offered.


  10. When truly autonomous electric vehicles are commonplace, I can see there being developed an “Uber” style taxi service. You have an app on your phone, you enter your location, your destination, andcehen you want to travel, and lo and behold, an e-cab returns up. You might have to share the journey for some of the way, just as you do on a bus. AI would work out the most efficient route, and you’d be charged accordingly.
    Until then, we need buses.
    I really can’t see car sharing taking up the gap left by dropping the 11 curtailing services on the 9, the 45 and so on. What happens if no one is going your way, or chooses not to share their car?

    • Actually the 45 is being extended to turn round at Pierremont Park to return to Sandwich so that isn’t too drastic but will dup!icate part of the Loop. It’s the 33 and 37 that have gone.

      Thinking about car sharing trying to co-ordinate would be impossible when one wants the GP surgery, someone wants the hairdresser, another wants the library and another wants Tesco or the Co-op. That’s why buses serve a purpose, each can do what they need!

  11. I’d much rather use public transport than share a car with someone who’d rather drive alone. I always feel much safer on public transport than in a car, even if its driver is a friend or relation. You never know what other drivers are going to do.

    • You mean those other drivers, that share the road with the public transport, that could also then crash into said bus? Forgetting also, that bus drivers are also “other drivers” to car traffic? hahahahahahahahaha I don’t think you put much thought into your post there, Rees.

      • I mean that even if you know the person who is giving you a lift, you may not know whether he/she is a good driver or not (I probably wouldn’t know that, as I have little experience of travelling in a car) – and all other drivers are an unknown quantity.

  12. I have seen so many anti-Tory, anti-Labour and all persuasions in between comments on here about many things especially Manston. When will everybody wake up to the fact that according to all politicians of whatever colour/flavour, we live in the affluent SOUTH EAST (allegedly) so all politicians are worse than useless When it comes to Thanet because we are so well off!!!

  13. Craig Mackinlay is by far the best MP Thanet has been fortunate to have for many years. It is not an envious job as Thanet is a depressed area , little industry, few well paid jobs, possibly due to being surrounded by sea. We do have excellent fresh air and a thriving tourist industry , around our coastline but little else. This is not Craig’s fault, and he should be applauded for trying his best to improve Thanet South in any and every way possible . Well done Craig !!!

    • Glad to see you’re so supportive of Craig (the WORST MP I’ve ever encountered, by the way) that you’re prepared to let everyone know your identity and shout it from the rooftops (not!).
      You are either Craig Mackinlay himself (you spelt his name right, which indicates you might be), his wife, his dog, or else a random bot from Conservative Central Office…

    • If Craig was interested in helping tourism to thrive then we would have campaigned passionately against an air cargo hub on our doorstep, he would have championed public bus services and cycle facilities and he would be regularly vilifying reckless driving and promoting 20mph speed limits.

      • Much as I support and use local buses, are they really that essential to the promotion of tourism? I doubt it myself.

        Today I went to the Kent Country Fair at Quex (and it was fabulous!). I and several others in their 50s, 60s and 70s walked the mile or so from Birchington village centre. We were passed (very slowly) by mostly younger, often fatter, and reasonably affluent-looking people in their cars. And that’s the big problem today – those with disposable income almost invariably rely on their vehicles. It is the poorer and/or older that need buses.

          • Very true, but how many would have used them if there were? My other half does drive, but we fancied the 2 miles (there and back) stroll. Many automatically jump in their cars.

            When I occasionally go to Westwood Cross (from Birchington) the buses are rarely more than half full, yet the car parks are jam-packed!

        • Might I suggest that Thanet busses do not pass Craig’s Medway pad or go to Sandwich Bay. As for Karen a poor down trodden £millionaire socialist. She will end up spouting the same as a former labour leader of TDC (Mrs 20 years) who had inflated idea’s of becoming a MP for Fanet.

      • the 20mph limits, that end up with drivers pushing out more emissions from driving in a lower gear at higher revs, those 20mph limits?

  14. Please can somebody update me. Which party is Craig Mackinley representing now. ? Is he truly representing the residents that he stands for and what improvements has he made for his ward and for Thanet as a whole.
    Please I need to be reminded.

    • He doesn’t live in Thanet R, perhaps that should give you a clue as to who he represents, neither does Gale, Duuurh

    • Craig represents a hardline splinter group of the Tory party that has more in common with UKIP than the Conservatives…

      He also shared his love for the dogwhistle conspiracy theory of “cultural marxism” (see his wikipedia page, “conservative party” section) by standing against “wokism”(woke = being staunchly against racism and injustice)

  15. There is a reference when someone ” Doesn’t give Two Hoots ” but
    When applied to Politicians “ONE ” HOOT would suffice !

  16. If only Craig ever wrote anything of substance in these things..
    Although it is notable that he still wrongly labels people crossing the channel as being ‘illegal’.. when there is nothing illegal about any stage of their journey. You’d have hoped an MP of a coastal community would have at least a passing understanding of the issue.

  17. Car sharing – brilliant idea, widely used in Cuba, where its considered to be your duty to pick up people en route as its a privilege to have a car. Good for Craig advocating socialist ideas.

    • Tax cars more heavily, increase parking charges, apply a congestion levy. Use that money to subsidise a better, more comprehensive bus service.
      Win all round.
      Those who simply *must* drive a car, because their journey is *crucial*, can do so, and pay for the privilege.
      Meanwhile, those who’d rather use the bus, thus cutting down on congestion and pollution, will be able to do so.

      • Phyllis

        Or why not charge the going rate for a bus journey instead of hitting car drivers ? If more people used the bus than the cost would come down

        Who are heavily charged by fuel tax and car tax !

    • I have to admit I chucked at his rather left view too. However it’s clear he didn’t mean for him and his rich folk backers. Just us peasants.

    • In fact Christine, when I was last in Cuba number plates were colour coded, and any government or official vehicle had to stop and pick up anyone by law! This meant you could hitch hike anywhere in the country, just by waving down an official vehicle! I was on a fact finding visit, and I found the people wonderfully happy! Every evening about 6pm, there would be street parties, with singing and dancing. We didn’t stay in one place but even in small villages people loved to sing and dance in the streets. I never once felt I was in danger when walking alone, even at night, unlike when I did a similar visit to the USA, and everyone was locked down in doors after 6pm! Mackinlay et al, would probably not understand this, especially that some 200 items of food and essential items were rationed very cheaply in government stores, so no one went hungry!

  18. More drivel from the laziest most ill informed MP we could have the misfortune to be lumbered with.

    Putin and green agendas the blame for the cost of living crisis. No rampant profiteering from Tory backers more like. It’s easy to blame those two whilst companies squeezing us all announce record profits.

    This guy is shameful.

    EU was the enemy until they couldn’t blame them anymore and now it’s Putin, Green agendas and “boat people”

    Shameful nonsense.

    I’d say have a day off Craig but let’s be fair you haven’t done a honest days work in your life.

  19. Spot on . ‘ not impressed ‘
    This dreadful fellow tried several times to get elected as a ukipper,without success.
    Then he changed to the Tories.A blatant opportunist.

    • It’s well known that Craig only campaigns and backs things that make him money. Both his little Westminster gangs he runs with are only in politics to make money from the power they have.

  20. I wouldn’t let my dog walk in the filthy streets of Thanet, he looks forward to a good drive to somewhere cleaner. Get a grip TDC clean and weed, demolish old ruins like Eaton Rd and other disgusting parts of Margate and clear out the scroungers who infest the town. Clean it up dirt breeds dirt. Buy a couple of street cleaning machines for a start

    • Fred, you do realise there are “scroungers” in every part of every town in every county in the uk, scotland, NI and wales, right?

      Why should we all capitulate to your bigoted view of the world?

    • I go out every day. I don’t see the point of the dreary, depressed exaggerations made by some of the regular commentators on these threads

      • Ma Rees, the dirty streets are not an exaggeration look at piles of rubbish outside Salmestone school and along St Peters Road, along Dane Valley to Dane Park, walk along Eaton Road to the seafront and then along the roads around the Lido area, if you think that’s clean what does your house look like.

        • And another thing is it right that bushes are not only growing in the old street gutters but now the new pavements in the new Westwood rabbit hutch estate at StarLane

          • Hi Fred, when was the last time you pulled your finger out and did a litterpick, just out of interest? I’d hate for you to be a raging, double standard laden hypocrite?

          • They’re not bushes, “Fred”. They’re weeds. Doesn’t someone of your esteemed intelligence know this already?


          • You need not have said anything about my house. And neither you nor Mrs Corfe needed to say anything about my eyesight.

            I have just looked out of an upstairs window at my street where,as usual, there is no rubbish at all. (Except what’s in the bins.)

  21. Surprised to hear of long advocated ‘car share’ and similar schemes, there’s no sign of that with a web search, it’s not in his Wikipedia entry, nor on his website and Hansard suggests he’s never mentioned it in the house.

    It does reveal how he’s perfectly happy to lobby his own constituents for car manufacturers. Did someone mention paymasters?

  22. Anon, let’s get something straight I’ve lived here for 70 years, the council has had a fair amount of money out of my pocket why should I litter pick. Also I have now retired aft ger working from the age of 16 without taking a day off sick in all that time. I have no intention to do someone out of a job. By the way the bush by the roundabout at Nash Lane growing out of the gutter is a butterfly plant.

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