South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: What is the role of an MP?

Craig Mackinlay

I’ve been considering over the Summer recess period the expansive question: “What is the role of an MP?”

Once elected there is no handbook offered by Parliament or the political party. In some ways there cannot be – it is a position quite unlike any other. It is up to the MP to determine how to set up their operations from where to locate an office, which staff to recruit and how to allocate personal time. Some choose not to engage heavily in Westminster operations or national issues. Others prefer to focus exclusively on purely local issues. Neither paths are wrong.

Most, like me, try to find a balanced hybridisation of both. There is no single ‘boss’ or hierarchical tree, save for the structure of the political party and attempted influence of the Whips’ office; no human resources department and an MP cannot be sacked, except under circumstances of a Recall Petition, a fairly recent feature, triggered if the Committee on Standards considers a breach of behaviour, personal or financial so great that a suspension from Parliament of more than 10 days is appropriate. The now 28 years established Seven Principles of Public Life – the Nolan Principles are a good guide to what expected behaviour means. Under these recall procedures the decision to remove the MP goes back to the electorate as it should. The constituents are the collective ‘boss’.

If only it were that easily explained as the ebb and flow of popularity of the political banner under which the MP or candidate stands is more likely to determine political fate rather than perceptions of good/bad/hardworking/decent. Is it a ‘job’, a ‘career’? No, any MP who sees it as such should probably not be doing it.

I do focus on many national issues because national policies affect everybody’s lives, those in South Thanet, wider Kent or the country. It is for that reason that I have a lot to say about Brexit. It’s why I have a lot to say about illegal Channel crossings and migration. It’s why I have a lot to say about Net Zero and energy. It’s why I have a lot to say about the economy and taxation. I’ve been vocally against the London Mayor’s expanded ULEZ scheme because, although 70 miles away, this will negatively affect local businesses and residents in East Kent. Being an MP offers opportunities to be quoted and listened to across a wide range of issues. It doesn’t always follow that what I say will be universally well received!

The overspill of national issues into the lives of my constituents are obvious. Take one seemingly small matter. I supported my good friend Mark Francois MP’s Private Members Bill for the Regulation of Roadworks, to impose serious financial penalties on utility companies who overrun works. We’ve had to bear an extended period in and around Albion Street, Broadstairs for months as UK Power Networks do heaven knows what for an extended period detrimentally affecting residents and businesses. We all understand that works need doing from time to time and there is never a perfectly convenient time to do them but what infuriates us all is when we see jobs half-done, usually abandoned over weekends or nobody doing anything at all for long periods. This ought to be a simple irritant to change.

This week I have meetings with the Senior Management Team and Leader of Thanet District Council. I don’t hide my irritation that we’ve not, as yet, much to show for the £20m in Levelling Up funding for Ramsgate that I helped to secure, as an MP led grant. Next week is the official opening of Thanet Parkway station with the Railway Minister, Sussex MP Huw Merriman. A few years ago the last piece of the funding jigsaw, some £17m was still to be found else the project would fail. It was only after my Prime Minister’s Question in July 2020 that the required shortfall was agreed by the Department for Transport. We still wait a judicial decision on Manston.

My MP surgeries have continued across the Summer. My local office is always your best point of contact via telephone or to my email address.

Tel: Westminster – 0207 219 4442

Constituency – 01843 603242

Email: [email protected]


  1. the general feeling about MP,s is that they grab what they can while they can, then once they lose thier privliged posistion they creep back to where they came from originaly, as coming to thanet was only ever for thier own personal gain.

  2. So our MP doesnt know what his job is. I’ll tell him it’s about supporting an airport as he is a director of an aircraft company.

    It’s about supporting a stuck off solicitor fantasy

    It’s about making the rich richer and the poor poorer

    Craig your a tory so it’s about it all being about you and your well off mates !

    • Phyliss I have long suspected the chocolate tea pot MP for South Thanet hasn’t a clue what his job is? If he goes to Gov.UK he will see 25 government departments, and its his job to hold them to account on behalf of constituents, got that Craig? My guess is 99% of people contacting an MP are for local authority reasons, like when the road in Broadstairs is dug up, the best bet is to contact your local KCC councillor, or go direct to KCC Highways! Its nothing to do with an MP! So just in case he hasn’t fathomed out what his job is, I will repeat it, its to hold government to account on behalf of constituents, and not on behalf of his self!

  3. There’s not much to show from the Levelling Up Fund for Ramsgate and Margate.

    It’s time this was independently audited.

  4. Dear Craig,
    why do you carry on writing these essays, that riddle with falsehoods and distortions?Have you had some kind of damascene experience out there in Hungary? Are you into flagellation or sado-masochism? You do know that Kathy Bailes has to spend time removing all the rude comments you generate, as this is an open website? Do you really think anyone will be won over by your lame comments?
    60 years ago while you were still in the design stage as a being,a Government which had won a stonking election victory, only a few years before, with an economy running at full bore, started to misfire and fail.It started to lose bye elections in a substantial way, like at Orpington .In those days the Tory party was the Tory party, and was run by adults and not a bunch of childish misfits,but even so the trajectory was clear, and it was downward.
    The handover from Supermac to Alec Douglas Home, was and still is controversial, but for all his failings as an economist (the famous matchsticks economic method)Home, was kindly, and meant well.He nearly pulled it off, in that Labour only won the general election with a majority in single figures, but even if had won, the writing was on the wall, and the next election might well have been a disaster for the Tory party.
    Now, we cannot extrapolate what happened in 1964 to predict the outcome in 2024/25,but it is looking ominous for the govt.
    The PM is floudering, because he thinks he can run the country like a hedge fund, and that the 66m human beings under his jurisdiction will conform to his idea of rationality.Had he read and understood his Adam Smith properly, he would know that scenario is unlikely.
    Jess Philips had it right in that we have yet again,a technocrat in charge, well meaning, but unable to control events or his own party.
    Looking at transport matters,Craig,you are not fit to stand in Sadiq Khan’s shadow, let alone criticise something you don’t understand.
    KCC,and the other Tory councils are playing politics, and are running with some very mad hares.There is a majority in favour of ULEZ in London, even in the outer London Boroughs, but there is a vocal and angry minority who are against ULEZ.
    It is not about the cost of living crisis, which by the way is not only down to Putin, but is instead exacerbated by corporate greed, right across industry,the wack a mole economics of the Bank of England, but most of all Craig, by you and your colleagues who voted in the worst PM in the 300 year history of that office. You are responsible for the misery that so many are experiencing.You are responsible for the enormous growth in food banks,energy banks,and every other charitable resource, that seeks to aid the poor.
    No, Craig ULEZ is about a minority who own older luxury vehicles like Jags,BMWs, Range Rovers, and the like, who feel that will have to downsize, and I understand their feelings, but we have to balance the well being of the environment and the health of thousands of individuals in poor health, against the wishes, not the rights, of others to drive a polluting vehicle in London.
    I agree, that more should be done on scrappage schemes and a more frequent, larger network,of bus services, to help the transition, but transition we must.As for the affect of ULEZ on the economy of Kent, the answer is minimal.Anyone driving into London needs to think hard.Why do you think so many are working from home? As for contractors running up and down the motorway,firstly they will have to dodge all the potholes, and then negotiate the congestion, so ULEZ is the least of their problems.Do you really think running a clapped out 10 year old transit accords with cutting edge, global Britain, because I don’t?
    Finally, Thanet Parkway and Levelling up. Thanet Parkway is already becoming a local embarrassment, lets not make it a national one.
    Levelling up, which you have so modestly claimed credit, will not do much, if it is used up fixing up TDCs rundown property.£20m won’t go far.Look at Margate, it has received over £200m in the last 15 years, and much good it has done them.
    My advice to you Craig, is eat crow, work with Rick Everitt, and stop being such a silly billy on so many subjects (now who said that?)

    • An excellent comment by George Nokes. Will Craig Mackinlay accept the advice given by Mr. Nokes? Or will he carry on as usual?

        • George Nokes isn’t anonymous is he? I agreed with every word he said, and for the record I voted Labour in 1964, which was the first time I could vote as you had to be 21 or over at the time!

          • Do you know him in real life under that name? Of course you don’t. IF he’s a real, local person, he certainly isn’t on the electoral register under that name.

  5. Craig thinks he can get votes by handing out sweeties to the electorate.
    Not much use, when lots of us don’t even have bread.

  6. No,Ms Pink Checksfield,thanks to modest Craig MacKinlay (and he has much to be modest about),all will be well as the titan of growth that is the UK economy,levels up and delivers bread tomorrow,or is that jam? You can never tell with all that ultra processing going on.
    By the way you seem to have been ultra processed did it hurt?

  7. Ulez is a con, it’s a massive impact on 1000s of drives that cannot afford a new vehicle and don’t forget business. Yes this country needs cleaning up but this is hitting the working class hard. Building and construction are bigger polluters. Tfl is all about getting themselves out of debt and ulez is doing that at the cost to the people, but none driver’s will realize that when the price of goods go up to cover costs of transport

    • 4000 people a year die in London prematurely because of the pollution churned out by these old bangers.
      I don’t really see how you can square thousands of deaths against a small % of motorists who insist on driving their old wrecks into the city.

      • Phyllis

        It isnt old bangers. It can be cars less than 8 years old. We have taxi’s in thanet that are over 20 years old.

        This is about keeping London for the well off. My mate lives in one of these new areas and he is knackered now. He drives down to look after his frail parents 3 times a week. Now it’s going to cost him 36 quid a week to just drive back to his home after visiting his frail parents. That’s an extra £1872 quid he will need to find.

        • People need to lobby their MPs for better public transport. And of course, if they don’t do so already, they should start using their local buses and trains.

          • And there’s the rub. The government have heavilly subsidised buses this year to encourage bus use (£2 instead of £7 is quite a difference). Yet when I travel throughout Kent, more often than not buses are almost empty. I even know many pensioners who never use buses despite having free passes, preferring the comfort and convenience of their cars. So how DO we get people to use buses? I don’t know the answer.

          • People will use public transport when it is a really good alternative to private car use.
            Trains and buses need to be cheap, frequent, joined up and offer a comprehensive service.
            I use public transport extensively; not just in Thanet but across the UK. And the experiences are mixed.
            In Thanet, bus services are almost useless. Bus to Sandwich from Ramsgate every 90 minutes. Bus to Birchington packs up mid afternoon. No direct bus to Canterbury. Loop bus brilliant.
            Train not so bad. In fact, the last half dozen trains I’ve been on were so popular that they were packed, with standing room only.
            If the powers that be want to encourage better use of public transport then they’ve got to entice drivers away from their cars.

          • The bus service from Westwood to Canterbury is excellent, running every 15 minutes. Yet most along that route still drive.

    • Chris, you do realise that ULEZ was Boris Johnson’s idea when he was Mayor of London don’t you? According to my newspaper the charge will only affect petrol driven vehicles from before 2006, and diesel vehicles earlier than 2015. There can’t be many of those around, but in any case correct me if am wrong, but arn’t they being given generous grants to buy newer vehicles?

  8. 700000 people with older cars ( some less than 8 years old) stitched up by ulez. £2000 scrappage for cars worth more this is not about the air we breathe it’s about making money

    • It’s about the air we breathe.
      If it was about making money, far more stringent rules would have been introduced, covering far more vehicles.
      In London, about 4000 a year due prematurely because of the poor air quality.
      Remember Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah?

      • How does charging people more money to enter London make the air any cleaner?? All it means is that it will be the wealthier rather than the poorer doing all the polluting.

        • Then the revenue received will be used to provide even better and cheaper public transport, so people don’t need to use polluting cars.

          • Public transport in London is already superb, and you don’t get any cheaper than FREE travel on buses, tube and train for ALL over 60s.

      • That number had already been proven to be over exaggerated, massively.
        But then again, all the car hating hypocrites don’t particularly care for the truth. Do they Phyllis.

        You just love to ride that high horse on a Thanet news site like you’re something special.

  9. It is the wealthier polluting the environment.Only they can afford the older luxury petrol cars and diesels.
    A 2005 petrol car is 18 years old and will be expensive to run,if you can get the spares. Even a 2015 diesel will be 8 years old and not in the first flush of youth.
    The crocodile tears over the poor and cost of living crisis, disguises the devious vote grubbing by politicians,climate change denial, and in the debate with Sadiq Khan other darker motives.
    ULEZ works and the expansion only brings it into line with LEZ which is designed to reduce pollution from HGVs etc.
    All buses in the TFL region are ULEZ compliant, but Kent has only 30% of its bus fleet compliant.
    If I found that my driving choices were harming others I would stop, and that is what everyone has to consider.Are we our brother and sister’s keeper? I think we are.
    As for the ULEZ opposition it is coming from older unreformed, petrol heads, devious politicians, the right wing press,climate change deniers and Piers Corbyn.
    I assume that Mark Harper,Roger Gough,Jeremy Kite, Craig Mackinlay,Chris and the Pink Checksfield are all on the same platform as Piers Corbyn

  10. Air quality in London would be far better off if construction of new buildings meet new standards. This ulez is nothing to do with clean air, khan paid for a university to calculate the findings and are totally misleading. Even this morning on the news BBC he got them wrong. He can’t remember his own lies, this is all about money and always will be

  11. Nokes you really don’t understand what you’re talking about, tfl own buses will not fully comply till 2035 that’s there own admission. Yes we’ll all deserve clean air but this is not about air it’s fully about money. Time will show that’s the case

    • When you are in a corner stop bluffing.TFL buses have been Euro 6 for years as are Brighton’s.TFL have more ZEBs than any other fleet as well,almost every month more Zero Emission Buses are coming into service.At the moment Kent have none,with a promise of 25 at the end of the year.25 is all Kent will have for the foreseeable future.
      ULEZ is about Euro 6 compliance not zero emission.
      Get your facts right and your anger under control it won’t help your health,where as driving a ULEZ compliant car will.

      • I think it’s you who needs to educate yourself on what zero emissions actually is. Because these buses release more carbon in their lifetime that many are lead to believe. They see the word zero, and start clapping and cheering.

        On another note. My f-pace which is a 5L is exempt from ulez. Whereas my partners 1.5L diesel qashqai isn’t. And I can tell you now, that car is ‘cleaner’ than mine for sure.

        So there is definitely debate on whether this is a money grab or not.

        You all can sit here and preach what you see on the news as fact. But the reality is, even the ONS proves that this is all a bit fishy.

  12. It is zero emissions at the tail pipe,but of course carbon is expended in making them.Ww must also consider pollution from tyres.Buses can replace up to 70 cars,because so many drivers will drive alone.I have just seen my neighbour drive up the road and return within 5 minutes.She could have walked the distance,but instead chose to drive her ancient people carrier instead for a journey of less than 1 mile.
    You may be able tell me that your partner’s car is less polluting than yours,but that’s not what the government thinks.
    I would junk the Nissan as everyone I owned or used was unreliable.
    I expect your SUV is euro 6 compliant.
    We had 2 cars but now we have one and I use my bus pass.
    Why all the fuss and the quoting of sources such as the ONS when if I check them out will have been taken out of context at best.
    I want my kids and my great nieces and nephews to live in a cleaner world.If that means a bit of inconvenience and going back to how we used to travel so be it.
    That’s not preaching,it’s being fair.
    I understand,the car is sitting there ready to go.No walking,no waiting,but the car,any car is an urban menace and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t act.
    Why are you so upset? You can still drive in most areas without a charge,just not in London.Be honest,why would you drive in London?
    Car ownership is an expensive hobby and I am happy to reduce my use whenever possible.

    • For someone who claims things are taken out of context, you really have taken my comment out of context as I’m not making a fuss nor am I upset.

      So the government can overlook a fact. Deem it irrelevant and continue to make things up as they go along.
      Right, got it.
      With a sentiment like that I’m assuming you work for the Gov and are also cashing in. Fair play. Make it where you can.

      Let the government push the blame onto us whilst continuing to feed deforestation at extreme rates which oddly no one talks about. “Let’s build carbon capture technology” meanwhile natural carbon capture is being chopped down devastating wild life and laying waste to your ‘clean air’ and nothing is mentioned about it unless you research it yourself. But I must be taking it out of context.

      If you think the ban of modern ICE cars is the answer to your kids futures then I have no words for you.
      Anyway, nice talking to you! You Carey yourself well unlike 2 others on this thread! All the best.

      • The point about deforestation is very valid and nobody speaks of it because cash comes first.
        London enjoys very clean air even with cars. Let’s be real, no one drives old bangers anymore really besides those that are enthusiast owned and come out a handful of times a year to be enjoyed.
        Hence why year on year the uk has falling air pollution rates and is one of the cleanest in the world making a very negligible difference on emissions globally as a whole.

  13. This was supposed to be about the hapless and hopeless MacKinlay,and has instead turned into a pointless debate where so called facts are offered up like sacrifices which are then duly despatched.
    I do understand that many do not want to change.that car ownership is indicative of the good life.Is is not easy being green!
    But unfortunately the planet won’t stand for it.
    Carbon capture may work,but it is an expensive solution to solve a problem we can sort out with a pretty minimal change in the way we live.It means insulating our homes and places of work.It means driving a bit means building back better.It may mean eating a bit less meat.
    Even Arnie Swartzenneger gets it.He has EV’d his Hummer, though I am not sure Greenpeace would think that is a good idea,but you see what I mean.
    ULEZ income will fall away,so if it was simply a cash cow I would think of better ways than a pullution charge.Road tax punishes big pullutors.The Dart charge clobbers everyone green or not,so the tax thing is not the issue.
    We need more passengers on the buses.How do we do it?
    Run more buses,run them more frequently.Make them more comfortable.Keep fares down (bus passengers have suffered with high inflation for years).Better bus stops,more information,in fact start from scratch.KCC have no idea about public transport and it shows.

  14. Yes, but He isn’t worth talking about.
    Your facts are the real facts I’m guessing and everyone else is wrong. Thank you so much!

  15. Did you actually read his last comment? No point debating with that, I can already see the shrine of Greta Thunberg in his bedroom…

    • You mean the bloke who has won every election in the past 40 years? Whatever it is, voters agree with him, probably because he has helped many people (including me) on a local level.

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