South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: Visiting Hungary, UK issues in court and ULEZ

Craig Mackinlay

I write this in the last few days of our annual trip to Hungary visiting my wife’s family. I am also, unsurprisingly, the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Hungary. It is always interesting to speak to locals here about various aspects of life.

The cost-of-living crisis is being felt markedly more painfully than in the UK with a huge lag between wages, pensions and benefits increases and base inflation. There is the argument to be had that if wage and benefits increases simply mimic or exceed inflation then the inflation expectation simply becomes embedded. That’s a broader discussion point, but it is the reason our government has been resisting unrealistic public sector wage demands.

In years past there was always the feeling, one that we don’t feel so much these days, of things abroad feeling ‘cheap’. Globalisation, imports and international prices of fundamental global commodities like oil and grain works towards purchasing power parity. A large loaf of bread here in Hungary is now £1.50 and a litre of fuel about £1.45. Electricity and gas prices are a little cheaper and a main course in a modest restaurant is typically £10, aided by a lower 5% VAT rate applying to hospitality businesses.

A typical standard old age pension is just £200 per month and so for many life is exceptionally hard. Inflation stands at 20% and interest rates for mortgages are at the horrendous rate of 18%. This has not yet led to a house price collapse but could soon be seen in over-inflated hot-spots like Budapest and around Lake Balaton.

There is a higher level of home ownership than the UK and in small towns and villages a modest house with garden can still be bought for £60k. There is a high level of intergenerational assistance together with family friendly government support mechanisms and a distrust of keeping money in the bank. There is ample housing supply as youngsters move away from quieter areas making things very different and affordable certainly on a UK comparison.

I often write about Debrecen airport after these visits. A small, ex-military airport on the edge of the city. Sound familiar? The similarities to Manston airport are obvious. There are even more logistics companies around the perimeter of this smaller Hungarian airport, gearing up for the full opening of the new £2Bn BMW factory and a new Chinese funded electric battery facility. The foreign investment decisions were made largely because of the local airport. Whether embedding more reliance on the Chinese is sensible remains to be seen but in a country with economic difficulties I suppose the view of taking money wherever it is to be found is persuasive.

It seems that many important issues in the UK are bound up in court action. We still await the outcome of the proceedings of early July which will determine where next in the Manston saga. We await the Supreme Court sitting and determining the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy to deter Channel dinghy crossings. I cannot say the government’s emphasis on ‘Boats week’ was well-founded with numbers reaching the UK by this dangerous route now exceeding 100,000, some significant daily figures, sadly more deaths and problems with the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Belgium, with whom we have no formal agreement and to whom we pay nothing to do what is an international expectation, are proving highly effective in stopping the boats, but France, despite receiving hundreds of £millions from us, still struggle to stop all the beach launchings leading to avoidable deaths. I know this is becoming a make-or-break issue for my Conservative government. I would be infinitely more robust and would implement unilateral returns and so called ‘international law’ can simply swing in the breeze as it increasingly conflicts with the will of Parliament and the public as this issue descends into one of national emergency.

It is good to see national discussion on Net Zero proposals being widely aired, largely on the back of cost and practicality. As I wrote previously, the Mayor of London’s new and expanded ULEZ scheme and the surprising win for us in Uxbridge and South Ruislip has opened a significant can of worms. It is worth noting some of the more ‘loony left’ London Labour Councils are implementing significantly higher diesel and petrol car charges for residents parking,

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and other aggravations onto residents simply trying to do their best. Thankfully, Thanet District Council is not that far offside as yet, and I aim to maintain good relations with its members.


  1. I don’t think Craig Mackinlay should be describing Labour councils anywhere as the “loony left”, considering his own views on certain scientifically-proven subjects.

  2. Continuing inflation is being caused by greedy multinationals including energy companies ,banks and supermarkets who are making extra BILLIONS of pounds at our expense. Why do people like craig on £1,600 a week blame workers on below £1,600 a month greedy for asking for a single figure pay rise?

    • Your right Barry, why does he say “unrealistic Public Sector wage demands”? He and his fellow MP’s had am unrealistic wage increase didn’t they, and now he expects Public Sector, and other essential workers to take a pay cut to pay for the mess they made of the countries Micky Mouse economy! Remember Liz Truss tanking it not so long ago, Duurh.

  3. The difference between Debrecen airport and a dozen or so other airports scattered round Europe is that the former is sort of functioning, whereas the latter all failed. The failed airports had at least one thing in common: the chap in charge was the chap currently in charge at Manston.
    As for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: note it doesn’t say “No Traffic “. Vehicles can still access areas, but more effort is made to make an area more pleasant for everyone, and to encourage more climate friendly ways of travel.

    • And also it should be remembered that it was actually Boris Johnson, when he was Mayor of London, who brought the ULEZ scheme in.

    • Your right Phyllis, the fact that the Debrecen airport is bang in the middle of Europe means it has access to all the other EU countries on its doorstep! However, Manston is located at the fag end of Britain, with access to Europe bangjaxed by red tape to export and import from Europe, that didn’t exist when we were in the EU. again Duurh! Oh, and who was the Deputy Head of UKIP, Yup, Craig Mackinlay wasn’t it?

  4. Stop paying ‘Le Frogs’. In fact, start charging them for each individual illegally leaving France, and illegally entering Britain.

    • It seems to have escaped Craig’s notice that the distance from France to England, at its closest, is about 30 miles. From Belgium to England is at least twice as far.

      • It hasn’t escaped Craig’s notice, he’s a sailor and knows this well, but he’s also expert at ignoring facts to pursue his own political and financial ends. Just look at his climate change misinformation for which he gets a large income from the fossil fuel lobby. Basically facts, evidence and truth are as alien to him as they are to his party.

    • Robster your an ignorant Pillock! No EU country can or will take migrants back if they arrive here by unseaworthy boats, why should they? In my newspaper dated 10/8/23 it was reported that the “Home Office has released figures showing Turks were the 2nd most common nationality among small boat arrivals, after Afghans”. It went on to say the UK does not have an agreement with Turkey to return their nationals, and has only just obtained one with Albania! As far as the Afghans are concerned they have a legitimate reason to claim asylum here, as do many other people from authoritarian, police states.

      The reason they come here is because they know they can’t be returned to the first EU country they arrived at, which was the case when we were a member of the EU! So, you see Robster it was ignorant people like you who voted to leave the EU that caused the problem with boat people coming here! There is one way to stop them, and thats to re-join the EU!

    • Your an ignorant Pillock Robster, and this is worth repeating because people like you need to understand the EU is not obliged to take back boat people, as they were when we were a member of the EU! It was reported in my national newspaper of the 10/8/23 that the 2nd most common nationality coming here are Turkish! The first are Afghans, who have a legitimate right to asylum! This country does not have an agreement with Turkey to accept back any migrants, unlike Albania who now do! Have you got that Robster, so stop your ignorant bullying remarks! Kathy, this must be accepted because people like Robster are creating a racist culture against people unable to defend themselves!

  5. I always thought that the Craig was talking a load of Hungarian in the past,and now this is confirmed.
    I notice Craig is not mentioning the egregious Victor Orban and his bunch of corrupt autocrats.
    If you have studied Hungary’s past history,you will see it has a massive chip on its shoulder,based on the split ting up of the Austro-Hungarian in 1921.If I told you that it had an admiral as it’s leader for several years prior to 1944(it is landlocked),you might understand that the Hungarian way of looking at things is not always in tune with other European countries.
    It also had a fascist party (The Arrow Cross) which made the Nazis seem reasonable people.
    His next raving is about the dreadful failure over Stop the boats week.The rubber dinghy migrants are not illegal as our usual racist fringe allege, as they have not been assessed as yet,because HMG has not sorted out the growing list of asylum applications which they continue to promise to resolve.
    I would also like to point out that P+O booted out all its UK crews and replaced them illegally with migrants earning £5/hour.If anyone here fancies sailing to France on ships crewed by people on £5/hour and with rudimentary training be my guest.
    So far,nothing has happened but there is always a time when a ship faces danger,and it is then when we shall see the cut of their jib.
    Craig,the Tories were hammered in the other two bye elections.Labour, as always muffed up Uxbridge & Ruislip by trying to trim and in doing so they allowed the Tories to claim some success,even though they lost votes and the share of the vote.
    By the way the DFT ordered the Mayor to implement the extension of ULEZ in 2020,so as always they speak with forked tonlgue.
    ULEZ is in all our interests,so I hope that Suella Braverman will be as zealous in pursuing the camera smashing, congestion causing protests,from the SUV owning OAPs,that are behind the anti ULEZ protests,as she is over Just Stop Oil and Lefty lawyers.
    I hope next year or possibly early in 2025,that Craig will be a ble to spend more time improving his Hungarian.

    • Your right George, why does Mackinlay keep saying the result at the Uxbridge & Ruislip election was a win, when it most certainly was not! Yes, the Consevatives won, but it reduced Johnson’s majority from around 7,000 to about 500, that was why he did a runner, he knew he was onto a beating!

  6. Sorry but you simply cannot ignore international law. That makes you a criminal. No different to the likes of Vladimir Putin! I guess all of those 330,000 excess deaths due to austerity, not to mention the unforgivable suffering of refugees, homeless people who are simply being left to die in the streets, and children of normal working people forced into destitution mean nothing to someone who only cares about trips to Hungary and lining their pockets with cash.

  7. Awfully strange comparison between the UK and Belgium’s response to the refugee crisis. Belgium is part of the EU and continental Europe more widely. You do not need to pay to get on a dingy from any EU country to get there. It is not an island. Open borders in the EU mean you can just catch the train. That’s why no one drowns on their way to seek asylum in Belgium. Am I missing something here?

  8. Surprising omission from the piece is the sewage leak announced a few days ago by Southern Water off the coast of Thanet. As my MP, I’d expect at least some re-assurance or further detail on this issue.

  9. Craig, please stay in Hungary. You are not needed here to boast about your rubbish views and ideas. Go, never come back.

  10. As usual I see comments section awash with support for this “MP”

    I hope he is shown the door asap.

  11. No there are still plenty out there who would willing re-elect him.These are people who would be found in the US believing that Trump won the 2020 US presidential election,are found in Turkey re-electing Erdoghan who allowed buildings to be built that are even more shoddy than those at Westwood Cross,not forgetting Mr Orban who is Putin’s friend.
    Craig spouts untruths because he and his kind have been given free rein to do so by the media,because it makes good copy and allows the Jerry Springers of this world to prosper.if truth, justice and love of your fellow man or woman really existed, GB news,the Daily Mail and the Spectator,would have gone bust years ago.
    Why do many of us think that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are not looney left impositions on motorists? Well,they stop idiot 4WD drivers from killing pedestrians and cyclists,like the numskull who crashed a Mercedes 4WD through the fence along Madeira walk today.
    Perhaps Craig,you have not noticed the increasing number of cars smashing into inanimate objects in Kent.Every day a family is grieving because their loved one has been killed in a car accident,the numbers are actually increasing even though cars are intrinsically safer for their occupants at least,but the infrastructure is still early 20th century in design.There are too many cars,sharing too little road space,and the planning and transport authorities have allowed the car to dominate and crowd out all other modes of transport,and it’s going to get worse before we recover our senses.Merely buying EVs will mean green traffic congestion rather than the standard fossil fuel version, and bad driving will still cost lives.

    • George Nokes at it again! You really are a frustrated ex Councillor and an original iron child who is trying to convince yourself that people are really interested in your continual ramblings and on occasions rudeness to people who take a different view! You certainly have a look at me syndrome.

      • Who is Laurence Davies? A nobody by the sounds of it, George is always worth a read, but it would make it easier if he used paragraphs! I am visually impaired and have to wear a contraption on my head that magnyfies the print, and illuminates it. I don’t always get it right though!

        • Thought the usual suspects would bite, M M Rees or whatever they call themselves day to day on here, Andrew and Dumpton would rally round the ‘iron child’. Anymore takers? Hilarious!

          • Do you have any respect for democracy? Stop the abuse and let people engage in serious policy discussion. You’re quite obviously running scared at the prospect of a Labour MP(s) for Thanet (which is hilarious, by the way).
            Your name is suspicious and has been noted.

          • I don’t think that being rude simply because you disagree with somebody is anything to feel honoured about.

          • Hello Adam? Or whatever your name is! My names is suspicious? Why? You have noted it. Are you threatening me? As far as Labour MP’s being elected in the future in Thanet I couldn’t care less. As far as abuse you are obviously a sensitive soul

  12. “it is the reason our government has been resisting unrealistic public sector wage demands”
    Yet, according to the High Pay Centre, bosses wages went up by 16%.
    Definitely one rule for the rich, and another for the rest of us.

  13. Due to the boundary changes, he will be shafted at the next election, his own party have done this to him.

  14. I lived and worked in Budapest in 78 – 79 during the Communist times. Budapest is a beautiful city. The Danube runs through the city and Budapest has some wonderful bridges. I prefer it to Vienna. I liked the Hungarian people very much. In my time, they looked back in anger to 1956 and the younger ones were ready to go again. The Russians always feared Hungary. I have not been back since. I never go back to the many countries where I once lived. It would not be the same.

  15. Óbuda and Pest are both very beautiful as is the Danube that separates them. Well worth a visit 🙂
    They will do far better than the UK with new factories opening, people owning their own houses instead of like us paying over inflated rents, we won’t get the investment as we have secluded ourselves out of it all with Brexit by unlike yourself who was a remainer we have your chums and Cameron/BoJo to thank for that.

  16. A glance at a map will show that Debrecen airport is not all similar to Manston. For a start Debrecen is in the middle of the country with road links going east, west, north and there is a nearby rail freight yard, unlike Manston stuck out on a peninsular. There is also the advantage of being able to transport goods to nearby Romania without customs complications due to the advantage of being in the Single Market.
    Perhaps Craig would like to base his airline company, Mama at Dedrecan if he thinks it is so good.

    • Markmy words the 2 chocolate tea pot MP’s for Thanet are under the impression that promoting Manston airport will win them a few votes, I doubt it, especially when people learn that there will be no passenger service, just a dirty old cargo hub!

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