Labour’s Polly Billington selected to fight for current South Thanet seat in next General Election

Polly Billington has been selected to represent Labour at the next General Election Photo Julian Newick

A former BBC journalist and then media director for MP Ed Miliband has been selected by Labour to fight for what is currently the South Thanet seat in the next general election.

Boundary Commission changes mean proposals are for new constituencies of East Thanet 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.

Polly Billington, 55, is also a director of UK100 and a former councillor in Hackney.

On Saturday she was chosen as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, beating local contenders Rob Yates, Charlotte Cornell as well as activist Phil Wheeler of Tunbridge Wells.

On why she is standing, Polly says: “The next general election is our chance to end the austerity, chaos and mismanagement of the last 13 years. But if we want a Labour government, we need to elect a Labour MP right here in South Thanet. It’s a big task but together we can do it.

“Whether born or drawn here, people love this place, and rightly so — it has so much going for it; its landscape, its history and above all its people. But Thanet has borne the brunt of rapid change and Tory neglect. Fewer good jobs, creaking public services. Spiralling house prices and unregulated AirBnB. Our seas and rivers polluted for profit. A moral outrage in the government’s treatment of people at Manston. It doesn’t have to be like this; I’ll unite everyone to beat Craig Mackinlay.

“As a BBC journalist, I shone a light on wrongdoing. but it wasn’t enough, I wanted to make a difference. As a campaigner, councillor, and trade union rep — I got things done. Challenging welfare cuts tackling violence against women and girls, fighting for better terms and conditions, and securing new council homes.

“As a parliamentary candidate, I beat UKIP in one of their target seats. Drawing upon my work for the last Labour government, I now run my own climate action network, bringing forward the Green New Deal we all need.

“To beat the Tories here, we don’t just need one more heave. We need to intensify our campaigning efforts, bringing the focus of the national Party to South Thanet. As your Labour candidate and MP, I’ll work with the whole Thanet Labour team, building on your successes. I’ve done that before and I can do it again, here, with you.”

Polly says she is campaigning for new council homes, cracking down on bad landlords, creating new and better jobs, protecting our coastline, and rebuilding our National Health Service.

General Election

The current Parliament first met on December 17, 2019, meaning it will be dissolved on December 17, 2024, at the end of the five year term.

Polling day would take place 25 days later, meaning the next general election due to take place in January 2025.

In the 2019 General Election Conservative Craig Mackinlay took the South Thanet seat with more than 56% of the vote.

He polled 27,084 votes, some 10,587 ahead of nearest competitor Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt who gained 16,497 votes.

Veteran Conservative Sir Roger Gale, who has held the North Thanet seat since 1983, was elected with 30,066 votes – equalling 62% of the poll. Labour’s Dr Coral Jones took 12,877 – 27%.

Sir Roger has confirmed he will be standing again in the next General Election for the revised Herne Bay and Sandwich seat.

Review of constituencies

The Boundary Commission has been 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 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.

The Commission will analyse responses from last year’s public consultation and form its final recommendations to be submitted to Parliament by 1 July.



  1. Hurrah!! Let’s get rid of that ERG crook Mr McAirport. Good luck Polly, I’m not a Labour supporter but you have my vote.

    • Labour are, according to their own leader, institutionally racist. The fact that people proudly state they’ll vote for them is baffling.

  2. Polly Billington, 55, is also a director of UK100 and a councillor in Hackney.

    One wonders how much Polly Billington knows and will know about Thanet especially if she lives, works, and is a councillor in London. How well can someone who lives outside the district get to know the feelings and mood of the residents at a monthly 2 hour surgery. If elected could -I am sure she could- achieve any more than the present representative for South Thanet.

    • Ms Billington doesn’t need to guess the feelings or mood of the local residents.They themselves will surely tell her what they want when they come to her surgeries.

  3. I’m also not a labour voter but will be giving Polly my vote so we can unseat the climate denying airline owning Craig, who peddles toxic rhetoric and anti outsider narrative.

    Craig lives in Medway. At least Polly will be living here and has a positive vision for South Thanet rather than intentions to send us into a declining town dominated screeching cargo planes and the certain ruin of our tourism economy. There are plenty of alternative employment options for Manston but alas Craig wants pollution first, for a handful of jobs.

  4. So the Labour party couldn’t or wouldn’t find a local person to stand, never mind suit the down from London crowd ha ha ha

  5. I think the opposite. The local Labour Party has found an excellent candidate. And they’re not obsessed with the local born and bred weird thinking some have here. Being local doesn’t qualify you. Local candidates lost the last two elections.

    Time for change.

    • ‘Weird thinking’ ? Looking at one of the other candidates in the selection process that person would in my humble opinion would have been an ideal fit for the constituency. Still I suppose those that voted for Polly Billington in the selection process were wowed with Ms Billingtons links to the heirachy in Starmers Labour Party. Who could maybe resist the thought of entertaining the likes of Ed Milliband with the chance of a selfie with him with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich!

      • As a footnote it is reported in the final round of voting at the selection meeting Billington obtained 151 votes with Charlotte Cornell receiving 120 votes. My thanks to Labour List and Michael Crick for these figures.

      • Yes weird. This Thanet obsession that somehow you have to be born here to do any good or have an opinion. I don’t dispute the sentiment that someone already here might be more accepted and perceived as being greater connected and knowledgeable about the area but that alone doesn’t make them a better candidate.

        That is based on likelihood of winning. And the last two elections had local Labour candidates who lost.
        However decent, kind, good folks they are, if they’re not considered the most electable candidate then they won’t get selected.

        Local doesn’t mean better.

  6. The new East Kent constituency will include Salmestone, Dane Valley and margate central district wards replacing the tory stronghold of sandwich. The tories majority of 10,000 would only have been 3,000 at the last election, given the unpopularity of the government,labour are favourites to win the new thanet east constituency

  7. “… Hackney…”?
    Just what Thanet needs. Diane Abbott’s mate telling us all what we should be doing and thinking. Whoever she wants to represent, it isn’t the people of Thanet and their views or concerns.🙄

    • Of course everyone who lives in Hackney is “Diane Abbott’s mate”.And of course Mackinlay is a wonderful representative for us poor silly Thanetians, except for his being a) scientifically ignorant, b) a climate change denier, i.e. the modern equivalent of a flat-earther, and c) dead keen on subjecting several thousand constituents to the noise and pollution of a cargo hub airport next to Ramsgate.

      • Exactly. Polly will get my vote and, hopefully, she will be the one who can finally bring an end to Kipper Mackinlay’s ‘reign’

  8. Two people on this thread say they don’t support labour, but they’re voting labour – ??? Talk about Alice In Wonderland! And ‘Craig’ was once in UKIP.

    • Yes, that’s right because the world isn’t binary. You don’t have to be either or, you don’t have to faithfully subscribe to all Labour’s policies to want rid or the corrupt, self serving crony capitalist that are the Tory party of today. Craig McAirport is an ultra right-wing ERG member and it’s time Thanet gave him the boot. Bring on the election.

  9. This is her Wikipedia biography:-

    It’s telling that there is absolutely nothing there about who she really is. We all know McKinley’s and Gale’s familial and spousal details. As we do for Sunak, Starmer, etc.
    Did this lady originate by Spontaneous Generation? Her bio suggests she went to a fee-paying school.

    Tell us more Ms. Billington! Who are you?

    • Can she count on my vote at the General Election? Maybe – but only if she gives unqualified support to the creation of a cargo hub at Manston. If she fence-sits on what is clearly a major issue in Thanet she can forget winning the new constituency, given that I believe the vast majority of voters reject the local Luddites’fib that the re-opening of Manston will rain death and destruction on this corner of Kent.

      • Why would Polly Billington want to support something which would be bad for 40,000+ of her constituents?

        • You are entitled to that opinion. I think the opposite – a Manston renaissance will be a shot in the arm for Thanet.

          • There will be no Manston Renaissance. It’s already been resurrected twice, and died.
            The sensible thing to do would be to accept the opinion of more than a dozen international aviation experts that Manston, as an air cargo hub, is a dead duck.
            Then a plan similar to SHP’s could be implemented- a mix of residential, recreation and high tech industries. Now that would be a shot in the arm for Thanet.

          • Hilarious
            what would be good for Thanet and East Kent is sustainable profitable business which isn’t a cargo hub (hub is a joke you know)
            Aircargo in the UK is a declining business especially as there are far cheaper options

      • Your belief that “the vast majority of voters reject the local Luddites’fib that the re-opening of Manston will rain death and destruction on this corner of Kent” is sorely misplaced.
        The only properly organized consultation revealed that the majority of Thanet’s population do not want night flights.
        There are plenty of proxies that suggest a majority of people don’t support Manston: for example, the responses to the DCO. If you look at Jenny Dawes’ crowd funding for the first JR, you’ll see that almost 2000 people made contributions of £120,000, whereas the appeal for funds for the Manston museum raised £790 from just 44 people.
        The reason that Manston closed (twice) was that too few people used it. Where was this “vast majority”? Clearly not flying from Manston.

    • Re.Harry Webb’s comment.Who cares what her “familial and spousal details” are? They’re not standing- she is.

  10. Luddites and a struck off solicitor are why Thanet is in the mess it is.

    Anyone who thinks a dirty old cargo boiler coming in over the harbour at 500 feet every 15 minutes is a luddite.

    Anyone who cannot see modern alternatives for Manston is a luddite.

    If we’re trading luddite content.

    Anyone who thinks Manston will stop housing isn’t a luddite. They’re just very badly informed. And have failed to understand that protecting Manston dormant airfield has made the housing issue worse.

    • Emmeline – you are so ill informed regarding modern cargo aircraft being old and dirty!! Do a bit of research before spouting off rubbish

        • Andrew – please research modern aircraft and current cargo carriers. In their interests to use modern efficient aircraft.

          • I read a most interesting article (a couple of hours ago) about how old passenger planes are converted into cargo planes.
            NB: old.
            No aircraft engine is “efficient”. Huge amounts of energy are needed just to jeep the thing in the air, let alone move it.
            Great big engines,,squirting out CO2, NOx , particulates, noise. ..
            That’s if any ever fly from Manston.

        • An eternity.
          If you need a device to create the electricity to power the motors that turn the propellers, you might as well cut out the middle man (as it were) and use the device directly to turn the propellers.

          • Andrew – you obviously do not understand aviation business – your reply, quoting from Air Cargo news, quotes RATES and not volumes of cargo are declining. It’s quite normal for rates per kilo to change with circumstances eg availability, time of year. I sometime despair at the ignorance shown by some people on subjects they obviously know nothing about.

      • Aircargo is declining especially as Shipping and HGVs are very much cheaper
        Try researching before supporting a declining business model

  11. Most airport support is actually anti housing development sentiment.

    As a consequence of this endless misbelief, and TDC blatantly fudging the local plan to preserve the dormant airstrip after UKIP came to their senses, we now have houses all over the farmland. Some right up to the perimeter fence.

    Legally, we are entitled to evidence based decision making within local government. TDC appears immune from this basic requirement.

  12. Polly looks credible & engaged in issues which matter to me. Once the boundaries are redrawn I’ll be pleased to have an alternative to vote for vs RG.

  13. She has my vote if she campaigns against re-opening Manston! Also, as both Mackinlay and Gale don’t live in Thanet, I don’t see a problem. If local people have a problem 99% of the time it can be sorted by their District, or County Councillors, MP’s are there to hold the government to account, not do something about the filth in our streets, or dog mess!

  14. So.
    She is a councillor and, presumably a resident in ‘Ackney.
    Presumably, she’s purchasing a home in Thanet? If not, where is her loyalty?
    Stephen Ladyman is the only non- Conservative M.P. in Thanet history. He was a former Pfizer employee and had strong local connections.
    In addition. Both Lancashire & Essex constituency Labour parties have declined to select her previously.
    None of us know anything about this woman. What can she possibly know about us?
    Councillor Ram Rawf may well have been born half a world away, but loves Thanet and the community that took him to their heart. Why is this “Comrade” being imposed by Central Office? Why would anyone vote for the invisible woman?

  15. Billington is quite an unusual name.
    Apparently, a long line of them were State Hangman!
    I wonder if there is a connection?
    Probably not something she’d want to get out if there is!
    The boxer Davey “Boy” Smith was one of the family.

    There’s nothing anywhere on the www. about Ms. Billington’s origins. Just school, university & professional information. Which should raise questions in any reasonable person’s mind. Particularly when it comes to electing someone as one’s elected representative. What is she hiding so well and why?

    • Where do Ms Billington’s “origins” come into it? It’s not her parents or grandparents who are standing for election.

  16. It looks like she is one of the central London “Starmer crowd”. It doesn’t matter if she is local or not. What matters are the policies she will vote for.
    I suspect that, as you can’t really get selected as a candidate if the “Starmer Stasi” want to block you, she has bland , hard to understand policies like Starmer.
    All Starmer wants is for the Tories to carry on blundering their way to defeat, and he will step in as the “alternative”. But, like Tony Blair, he will achieve little of note, and certainly little that would outlast the following Tory government, that will inevitably get elected as Starmer’s Labour will retain few really devoted supporters as they don’t stand for any identifiable principles, except saying anything to get elected.
    Then, after a few years of patriotic scandals and Union Jack- covered economic disasters under the Tories, there is an election and ………well, you can probably take up the dreary story from here.

  17. Another DFL from Hackney, surely we have enough filling the stinking streets of Margate already living in Hackney council owned homes, you can tell who who and where they live just look at the run down properties surrounded by rubbish and filth. To many scum of the earth here already why vote for more.

  18. The majority of Thanet want and support the Airport. Don’t be put off by the crowd funding, probably supported in the main by developers.

  19. John. The majority of Thanet do not want an airport and it doesn’t matter how many amateur 6th form surveys SMA run, this doesn’t prove it and irrespective of the minority wailing ‘cos airport’ all the time it doesn’t mean it’ll succeed does it.

    Especially given it failed 4 times already.

    Do supporters not look at evidence?

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