MP brands new parliamentary constituency plans for Thanet as ‘bizarre’

Boundary changes

The Boundary Commission for England has published new revised proposals for constituencies across the country and opens a final month-long consultation, giving the public a last opportunity to send in their views.

Changes for Thanet would mean an East Thanet constituency taking in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and most of Margate but Westbrook, Birchington, Garlinge, Thanet villages wards and Westgate would come under a Herne Bay and Sandwich County Constituency.

Currently the constituencies are South Thanet- which includes Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Cliftonville, Sandwich and villages such as Preston – with MP Craig Mackinlay and North Thanet – including Margate, Manston, Minster, Westgate, Birchington and Herne Bay -with MP Sir Roger Gale.

The latest proposals for Thanet

East Thanet wards

1 Beacon Road

2 Bradstowe

3 Central Harbour

4 Cliffsend and Pegwell 5 Cliftonville East

6 Cliftonville West

7 Dane Valley

8 Eastcliff

9 Kingsgate

10 Margate Central 11 Nethercourt

12 Newington

13 Northwood

14 Salmestone

15 Sir Moses Montefiore 16 St. Peters

17 Viking

Herne Bay and Sandwich wards

1 Beltinge

2 Birchington North

3 Birchington South

4 Garlinge

5 Greenhill

6 Herne & Broomfield

7 Heron

8 Little Stour & Ashstone

9 Reculver

10 Sandwich

11 Sturry

12 Thanet Villages

13 West Bay

14 Westbrook

15 Westgate-on-Sea

Craig Mackinlay

MP Craig Mackinlay has branded to proposal as “bizarre” saying it will mean the  proposed new Sandwich/Herne Bay constituency will have areas across three local authorities.

Mr Mackinlay said: “”The Boundary Commission ongoing review into the Parliamentary seats has created a bizarre outcome in East Kent which under any analysis breaks their own code and guidance to which they are meant to work when little change is needed.

“Both existing seats were the right size in terms of elector numbers but due to population growth in Canterbury, Sturry was proposed to be moved into Thanet. In so accommodating just a few thousand new electors, the Boundary Commission have recommended wholesale change to the Thanet seats, causing massive displacement of constituents.

“This is in itself unfortunate as the North and South Thanet seats have been broadly unchanged since 1983. The first iteration of this proposal in 2021 was contested with a more sensible plan advanced by the national Conservative Party and both Thanet MPs.

“Additionally, the proposed new Sandwich/Herne Bay constituency will have to deal with three local authorities, a virtually unheard-of situation, whereas the current configuration, long established, had each seat dealing with just two local authorities each.

“Additionally, ‘community links’, which are fundamental to this exercise, are abstract at best between Sandwich and Herne Bay. The resulting seat has a crescent around the new East Thanet seat and has coastlines in both north and east Kent, again, unique across the country.

“The review is still open and I hope that good sense can prevail to keep stability when little change is required.”

The Conservative Party suggestion is for the transfer of just one ward from North to South Thanet – Dane Valley – and the addition of Sturry to North Thanet with no name changes for the constituencies.

However, Ramsgate County Councillor Karen Constantine (Labour) said she thinks the proposal could be a good idea.

She said: “It makes good sense to put together the three main towns of Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate to form East Kent, especially as they share so much in common like the coastline and tourism offer. We have vibrant communities who are very engaged with the arts and music and communities of people that share the heritage and future of Thanet.

“What Thanet East really needs is responsive politicians who will fight for resources so that from 0 – 90+ residents needs and aspirations can be met. We need to fight to obtain our fair share of Kent County Council’s budget, and to ensure we have adequate infrastructure, schools and colleges, access to health facilities and good secure jobs. We need a powerful voice in Parliament.

“Thanet East will be an area that is packed with potential, brimming with local talent and ambition. Not only that – our coastline is precious, beautiful and very special to us all. I think this the new boundary is a good step forward. It makes sense.”

Public consultation

The Commission has taken into consideration some 45,000 comments sent in by the public during the previous two stages of public consultation and has changed nearly half of its initial proposals based on this feedback.

A third and final consultation on the new map of revised constituency proposals is open now until 5 December. The public are invited to view and comment on the new map at

The Commission is undertaking an independent review of all constituencies in England as requested by Parliament. The number of electors within each constituency currently varies widely due to population changes since the last boundary review.

The 2023 Boundary Review will rebalance the number of electors each MP represents, resulting in significant change to the existing constituency map. As part of the review, the number of constituencies in England will increase from 533 to 543.

After this final consultation has closed on 5 December, the Commission will analyse the responses and form its final recommendations. These will be submitted to Parliament by 1 July 2023.


  1. The political parties will have good reasons of their own in evaluating the new boundaries the changes . Here’s a non-political advantage: it unites the three main towns of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate and so creates a much needed sense of unity, of Thanet rather than the years of squabbling between Ramsgate and Margate.

  2. How much is it going to cost?If it does cost money,Id rather see that money sweep the roads and rid of the detritus that has been left for over 10 years.

  3. I agree with Dick Symonds. I can also see why Mackinlay is worried, he will have to fight for votes rather than relying on tribal Conservatives.
    Given our MP lives away in Chatham it makes sense so he can get candidacy there rather than always ‘missing in action’ here.

  4. One huge advantage we have in Broadstairs and Ramsgate is that we can’t be pushed eastwards unless they make us part of Flanders in Belgium ! These boundaries are much more sensible but McKinley doesn’t like them because it creates a genuinely marginal seat and he made need to find the Job Centre after the next General Election!

    • Craig would rather change parties than lose his public pay packet.
      The pittance as far as he would be concerned at the loss of his seat is not worth fighting for as an alleged conservative. Plus he hasn’t been an MP long enough to build up a fantastic pension pot at the publics expense.
      It would also depend on if he could persuade Karen to give up her ambitions off becoming a Labour MP for South Thanet soon to be East Thanet Ward.
      My guess is that he is getting scared of Karen taking his seat hence he will change parties …..Yet again.

  5. Mackinlay’s own government were responsible for evening up numbers in constituencies to make them more equal in voter terms and creating more constituencies. Was he asleep when they made this decision and has he only just woken up to the fact that he could lose his job?

  6. Why not make it everything east of what was historically the Wantsum channel is the new Thanet constituency and adjust any MPs allocated to suit ?

    • That has always been my thoughts on this. One MP for Thanet, an area bounded by the coast and the Wantsum,
      not for bits of Sandwich/Dover district or Herne Bay.
      The Kingdom of Thanet. 😎

    • Until 1974 there WAS just one constituency (called Isle of Thanet) for the whole area. Following the redrawing of the boundaries it was divided into Thanet East and Thanet West.

  7. Strange but true, margate railway station will be in the herne bay/sandwich constituency not in thanet!

  8. As opposed to the dyed hair and backward ways!
    It was those in the greater Birchingtonia who voted in droves for the maddest prime minister we have experienced in a long while.
    However I do think Craig declaring anything ,’bizarre’ is like Joseph Stalin saying that the NKVD were too terrifying!

  9. Very sensible of Cllr Karen Constantine to ignore the fact that Westbrook, St Mildred’s, West Bay and Minnis Bay are all equally part of Thanet’s ‘tourism offer’. What on Earth is wrong with simply having a ‘Thanet’ constituency that matches TDC boundaries and have the rest of the area in a constituency named Herne Bay & Sandwich.. unless that is either too simple an idea.. or possibly there is some reason why Parliamentry constituencies aren’t allowed to match Local Council boundaries?

    • How many incorrect predictions of the Tories demise in Kent do you need before you realise that it’s extremely unlikely? The biggest threat to them in recent years was UKIP – not Labour, Lib-Dem or the Greens.

  10. Ridiculous; I don’t live in Sandwich or Herne Bay I live in Thanet which has a natural boundary at the Wantsum Channel, let’s keep it that way and not change for change sake.

      • A long time ago in my late teens and early twenties during pubs winter opening hours 1st Oct – 31st March (1st of Oct when Porter became available on draught; pubs in Dover and Canterbury districts shut at 10:30 pm whereby pubs in Thanet opened till 11:00 pm. Let’s keep Thanet independent shall we.

  11. I read the website on the gov site. I suggests that constituencies should be between 70 and 80k. Given that Thanet is somewhere north of 125k and growing surely the sensible path is CT7,8,9 as the Margate/Thanet North seat, and Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Sandwich as Thanet South. The villages can be added to their nearest seat. Herne Bay can hop off to Canterbury where it belongs.

  12. Craig doesn’t like it because he has seen the predicted result. Such a shame. He has been such an active and helpful MP for many of us….

    Or not.

  13. I agree with those that say that Thanet should be the old island,Thanet East is a joke Half of Margate would be lost.

  14. Will the Isle of Thanet News have to change its name, its not clear? Neither is Manston, what constituency will that be in?

  15. Seems sensible to lump together most of Thanet in one constituency. Not sure why bits of Thanet got left out of it , though.
    But the other constituency will stretch from Sandwich in the south to Herne Bay in the north.
    There is little that unites all those small towns and villages except that they mostly vote Tory. Perhaps that is the point.
    Our contorted constituency boundaries, combined with our first-past-the-post electoral system , has meant that , in 2019, 43% of the voters returned a Tory government with a “landslide” majority of 80 seats. 57% of the voters supported non-Tory Parties and ended up watching from the sidelines as the national decline continued.
    Changing this fiasco will take more than fiddling with boundaries.

  16. No political party has managed to turn Thanet into a land of milk and honey.UKIP was/is more than a little batty,Labour unable to agree on anything and the Tories,well the best that can be said about them is when they leave things alone,the rate of decline is lower,than when they start applying some of their daft policies.
    The greens and the lib Dems never get a look in so I can’t comment.
    What is really needed is a bit of pluralism,so everyone’s vote counts.
    What we have now is the old more dead than alive raves from the grave,chancers and nincompoops.
    Who ever wins in Thanet or the UK next year,should take things seriously and stop trying to rule as if the world is made in the image skulling around in their empty heads,instead of how it really works.
    I hope the Tories are reelected so they get to fix the mess they created.

    • Do you really think the Tory’s will fix the mess they created over the last 12 years George? Since the war, more people voted against every government that was elected than voted for it! A start could be changing the electoral system to that of say the one they use in Scotland. Its not a proper PR system, but it is similar, and would get people used to voting twice, once for their political party, and once for their MP.

  17. Does anyone really care roger fail too old to even understand and mackinly you can sum up by vertue of the fact he was a johnson supporter, manston supporte and brexit fan absolutely useless

  18. This plan seems ludicrous as in 10 years they will have to change it all again as they have not taken into account the 17,000 houses to be built which about 2,000 has been or in progress that again will affect the balance of areas, the Canterbury area is approximately 5,000 more houses including those being built. I think the suggestion that thanet be 1 area on its own leaving Hearn Bay out of the equation but leave sandwich in as is closer this with the new houses could be split into to areas east and west thanet this would give work perfectly for Thanet with and tweak the ones thanet would loose from Hearn Bay with others areas to possibly increase another constituency as there are plans everywhere for new housing which commission have not taken into account.

  19. Where is the sense in having half of Thanet in with us in Herne Bay? It was always illogical for Herne Bay to be coupled with Thanet. We are not in Thanet. Now we are going to be tied in with Sandwich which is the other side of Kent. Surely it makes more sense for HB and Whitstable to be in the same constituency. Big Chris is right. The amount of houses going up even in HB and surrounding area means that they would need to change the boundaries again in the not too distant future,

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