Craig Mackinlay announces he will not stand in the snap General Election

Craig Mackinlay will not stand for the East Thanet seat due to his medical needs

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has announced he will not stand in the forthcoming General Election due to the continued medical appointments and procedures that he continues to face.

On Wednesday (May 22) he returned to Parliament after eight months, having had his arms up to the elbows and legs up to the knees amputated due to an extreme case of septic shock.

The dad-of-one received a standing ovation from colleagues as he attended Parliament for PMQs. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “in awe of (Mr Mackinlay’s) incredible resilience” while Labour leader Keir Starmer paid tribute to his “courage and determination” and “deep sense of service.”

The 57-year-old went into septic shock on September 28 last year and, in an interview with GB News, spoke of how the sepsis caused his organs to fail and, as blood clots formed, his limbs turned black.

Initially taken to Medway Maritime Hospital at the insistence of wife Kati, he was given just a five per cent chance of survival after his condition worsened dramatically and his body went blue from the shock.

In October Mr Mackinlay was moved to St Thomas Hospital in London and on December 1 he had an operation to remove all four limbs.

Speaking to GB News the MP said the limbs were “almost leather, like plastic” as he described “the complete death of my hands and also my feet.”

At Medway Maritime Hospital a do not resuscitate order had been discussed for the father-of-one.

He told GB News: “The price I am going to pay for living is serious disability but we will get over it.”

He added: “The Grim Reaper let me survive but he has taken payment in four limbs, that’s the way it is.”

Craig with daughter Olivia

The sepsis also caused tissue damage to Mr Mackinlay’s gums, face and ear which, he says, will require plastic surgery in the future.

After Christmas Mr Mackinlay was moved to a surgical ward that specialises in limb loss and by the end of January artificial legs had been cast.

In February he left the ward under his own steam, using the prosthetic legs and a frame.

The artificial arms from the NHS are, however, very basic and the MP will now  pay some £100,000 for ‘bionic’ prosthetics through a private company.

Mr Mackinlay had said he would stand at the next General Election for the East Thanet constituency as the ‘bionic MP’ but this was prior to the announcement, also on Wednesday, by PM Rishi Sunak that the country will go to the polls on July 4.

Parliament TV

Today, Mr Mackinlay said: “The snap election announcement has caused me 36 hours of intense soul searching.

“Whilst my heart tells me to stand again, there being so much unfinished business across local regeneration and national issues which are important to me, my head knows this to be impossible at this time.

“It would be difficult to withstand the rigours of an all-out election campaign, a campaign that I’d always wish to lead from the front. Thereafter, upon being re-elected it would be difficult for me to sustain 70 to 80 hour working weeks which were the norm prior to my illness.

“I had hoped to phase my return to the House of Commons over the coming months as my abilities improved. Since leaving in-patient rehabilitation a month ago my life now revolves around various medical appointments.

“I face numerous future operations as a result of the serious sepsis that I suffered which very nearly took my life. I have only just started the prosthetic journey and I have weekly physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions.

Parliament TV

“I had the most memorable appearance of my time as an MP at this week’s PMQs: it was emotional and the experience quite surreal. I shall never forget it. I had expected it to be the start of my return. It will, however, be remembered as my last hurrah.

“I will now campaign to raise awareness for, and particularly the early recognition of, the onset of sepsis. If this results in the saving of one life or the prevention of the type of disablement that I have suffered it will be a worthwhile campaign. I will also do all that I can to ensure that multiple limb loss amputees get the right prosthetics at the right time to ensure that lives can return to as close to normality as possible.

“To be elected to the House of Commons is a rare privilege of life.  I thank my South Thanet constituents for placing their trust in me across three General Elections.”

Mr Mackinlay was first elected to the South Thanet constituency in 2015 where he stood against UKIP leader Nigel Farage and comedian Al Murray, among others including the bizarre Nation of Oog candidate.

In 2019 he 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.

The announcement will leave the Conservatives with little time to announce a new parliamentary hopeful for the East Thanet ward.

50 Comments

      • Not that you’ve ever been that knowledgeable about Politics Pedro but even you should be aware of the dearth of ability and quality available to the Tory Party, both nationally and locally. I suspect they’d even let you run for them even with their lack of due diligence…

  1. Given what the Boundary Commission has done, this election was always going to be interesting. It’s going to be even more so now. I think it quite possible that the breadth and depth of diversity within urban Thanet might well come back and bite the unsuspecting Labour Party in its posterior. Given its particular choice of candidate.
    It will be interesting to see who the Conservatives choose.

  2. Never mind, the Tories have no shortage of shifty white collar people to stand in areas, the issue is do they want to stand somewhere where they could be dumped.

    • Nor affluent champagne socialists from London to discourage us from becoming wealthy through hard work and enterprise.

      • Tell us about your hard work and enterprise Pedro. Doorman at a closed venue, self-publishing photos of naked local women decades ago…

        • Oh dear, another angry and bitter hard-left extremist…
          Got anything nice to say about Craig’s courage, or are you staying as silent

          • No, just calling you out Checksfield/Pink/Doorman/Whatever you are this year.

            When are you going to say why you left London and became a DFL then Peter?

    • Steve you really are quite bitter and twisted, do you have original thoughts or any degree of logical well argued opinion, or is it purely all politically dogmatic drivel? Politics attracts afar too many of the wrong types across the parties, it’s a fact ofpolitics, to suggest its dominated by one side or the other is just willful blindness

  3. A sensible and pragmatic decision by Craig Mackinlay. I am sure he will soon be elevated to the House of Lords and will carry on his campaigning from there. It is an admirable aim to lobby on behalf of the victims of sepsis and for the early recognition of the onset of this killer disease. Good luck Craig!

    Piers Wauchope KC has also announced he will not stand as the Reform UK candidate due to the Party dragging its feet in officially appointing him as PPC for East Thanet. He now feels that due to Reform’s slow response, there is insufficient time to mount an effective campaign before the election on 4th July. This, together with an escalation of his legal workload has caused him to withdraw from a pool of potential candidates of which he was the best qualified.

    With the Green Party in the minority and no candidates yet appointed to replace Craig Mackinlay and Piers Wauchope, this clears the path to victory for Labour’s Polly Billington who will no doubt take the seat without any real opposition.

        • No… and that’s my point, the local far left often criticised him for not living here. So will they be equally critical if Polly doesn’t?

      • Craig is from and still lives in medway, Gale lives in Preston village so what does it matter, I would prefer a thanet based person but the 2 present shifty Tories aren’t. What’s the betting he rocks up at RSP?

        • Preston was only a couple of miles across the border previously… and is now part of the new Herne Bay and Sandwich constituency, that he will be hopefully representing. Therefore, he’ll live in the area.

          A bit different from Islington! Can Polly even name any villages in Thanet?

      • I spoke to the Labour candidate on the door who says that she’ll definitely be moving to Thanet if elected (unlike Mr. Mackinlay who never managed to make the move from Rochester).

      • Checksfield, you mean like your Man-Crush ‘Sir Roge Gale’ who lives nowhere near his constituents?

        Clearly love has blinded you

        • I’m sure a 10 minute bike ride away is alien to your understanding. When’s the last time you left your village? To cash your giro in 2008?

  4. I was shocked when i heard what Craig went through. Thank goodness his wife had the presence of mind to insist he went to hospital. I wish him well on his ongoing recovery and raising awareness of sepsis. Totally agree that standing down is the right thing at this time due to all he is going through.

  5. I’m no Tory but great respect to Craig McKinley I wish him all the best. To wake up from an induced coma and find one’s hands and legs having to be amputated must have been absolutely horrific.
    I would have rather not woken up at all if I been him.

  6. Mackinlay incredibly brave to face his awful illness.
    Worse than useless as an MP though with his climate change, anti-environmental voting record.
    From what I can tell, the Labour candidate has been out and about in Thanet for months and clearly wants the job.
    After 14 years of austerity and incompetence – she’s got my vote.

    • Yet STILL refuses to answer any questions on Manston! If you don’t care either way, then vote – if not, try to find out what her stance is.

      • I’m rather more interested in her stance on education, health, social welfare, transport and housing.
        What she does or doesn’t think about Manston won’t make any difference whatsoever.

        • Education = Will she campaign to reverse the university fees, introduced by Labour?

          Health = Will she try to reverse the 3 in 4 overweight/obese FatNet epidemic?

          Social welfare = Will she do more to get the disabled back to work?

          Transport = Will she campaign to restore all the axed village bus services back, even the ones that were often near-empty?

          Housing = Will she call a halt to house building in Thanet?

      • Isn’t Manston a done deal though? I read the other day that the court has decided it’s happening. Surely it’s not at the point where if it’s economically viable and investors are found – it’ll open.
        Have I got this wrong?

        • The court has rejected the Judicial Review, so the DCO as issued by the SoS is valid.
          What happens next is anyone’s guess.
          The DCO itself lists a whole host of conditions that must be met before RSP can even stick a spade in the ground.
          And they’ll need a CAA licence.
          And they’ll need several hundred million pounds of investment: Just how much even Tony Freudman doesn’t know.

  7. I for one would like to thank Craig for representing us in parliament and I completely understand his difficult decision. I only hope that our next member of parliament actually lives in the constituency, not just a ‘promise’ (that most politicians make, and break, that ‘if elected, I will move there’ Yea Right…

  8. I wish Craig well and quite understand why hes standing down after what hes been through.
    He,s very lucky to be alive .

  9. Facts: Polly Billington lives in Stoke Newington, London N16 in the-Hackney North constituency. She is Councillor for De Beauvoir ward in Hackney South and Shoreditch. She has given the commitment to move to Thanet if elected. Don’t waste any more time speculating on these issues .

  10. I wish Craig Mackinlay all the best and I’m sure he’s made the right decision for himself and his family. Polly Billington will be a good MP for East Thanet and already has the right contacts within the incoming Labour government to make a positive difference for the area.Change is badly needed at national and local level.

  11. Ms Pink, you can’t leave your country in its hour of need, this septic Isle of Thanet, this crumbling lump of chalk set in its sludgy brown sea, to go gallivanting about in foreigners’ parts for six weeks. Too late to offer your services to the heroic Mr Mackinlay now, you could still team up with your mentor Professor Checkers and form a new political party to carry Craig’s baton now he can no longer do so. Checkers is always cheerful and lively, so you could call it the Pinkie and Perky Party. Your manifesto pledges:

    1. We will make Thanet a proper island again. We promise to dredge and flood the Wantsum Channel with sewage to discourage incomers, and pay Southern Water extra to continue pumping effluent around the rest of our coast (importing surplus sewage from other water companies if necessary), in ordure (hoho) to deter illegal immigrants from landing.

    2. Art. We will tear down the Turner Centre, and ban all wokey snowflakes from buying up and restoring crumbling heritage buildings and setting up bloody art workshops and vegan cafes. And evict Tracy Emin and all the DFLs by making them swim the Wantsum at high poo tide, on pain of tarring and feathering.

    3. We pledge to repair and refurbish the Winter Gardens, and commission an Avatar show of Freddie and the Dreamers’ performing there in 1959. Funding permitting we will commission further avatars, of Adam Faith at the Winter Gardens in 1963, and then, the Beatles!

    4. We will continue Craig’s good work in climate change denial and continued fossil fuel extraction by experimentally fracking Thanet’s chalk cliffs down. After all there’s a few fossils in all that sodding chalk, so surely there’s a bit of gas there? Enough to boil a kettle to make a nice cup of green tea anyway.

    5. Yes, I know I should have at least five pledges but I think those four are quite enough for now, thank you.

    There. That’s a manifesto to get you both into parliament (though you’ll have to take it in turns, and come to some arrangement with Sir Roger, as some of his constituency might be sub Wantsum). You can probably borrow Rishi’s helicopter to get over the Wantsum, hopefully he won’t be needing it much longer.

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