General Election: Questions to candidates – Paul Holton, Independent, for East Thanet

Candidate Paul Holton

On July 4 the country will go to the polls for the General Election.

In the 2019 General Election, before the boundary changes that have come into force this year, Conservative Craig Mackinlay took the South Thanet seat with more than 56% of the vote.

Mr Mackinlay announced he would not stand in the forthcoming General Election due to the continued medical appointments and procedures that he continues to face after having had his arms up to the elbows and legs up to the knees amputated due to an extreme case of septic shock.

In East Thanet the poll has Labour with a 91% chance of winning the seat and Conservatives on 9%.

In East Thanet there are eight candidates vying to become the area’s next MP.

We have asked the candidates to answer some questions on issues that matter to Thanet.

Here Paul Holton, standing as an Independent in East Thanet, tells us his views on subjects ranging from housing development to the NHS:

Photo by Alan Green

Housing development- particularly on farmland – and the housing numbers dictated for the Local Plan are a concern for many residents.

What is your view on this, can the government reduce housing need figures due to them being based on 2014 ONS stats which do not seem to reflect the 2024 situation and need?

Thanet had a population of approximately 141,000 as of the latest data. This represents a modest increase from previous years, reflecting ongoing population growth in the area, but how many councils outside Thanet send their residents to live, as it’s cheaper in Thanet than in main cities

It is NOT expensive homes we need, the average price of a home in Thanet bought with a mortgage was £296,000 in April 2024, slightly lower than the previous year’s average of £303,000. For cash buyers, the average price was £281,000. These homes are unaffordable for most, and developers just want to reduce the 30% Affordable Homes down in some cases to 12% this is totally unacceptable.

Alongside this Thanet needs more social housing, how would you tackle this?

Out of the box thinking, working with landlords, giving incentives. We need to re-utilise empty properties or demand landlords either bring down rents, or lease cheaper to councils, and allow councils to bear the brunt or reduce council tax as an incentive, maybe a repairing lease. Landlords could be offered a five-year arrangement whereby the home would be kind of on loan/leased to the council, this would bring online thousands of empty properties, yes it’s a quick fix, but our councils need to be trailblazers not just followers of outdated rules and regulations.

Our current council is Labour controlled, and there is strong public opinion regardless of the local plan, or planning rules and regulations set by government, that residents think our Labour council is more for concreting over valuable farmland than attempting brownfield sites more, and what makes me nervous is Labour if placed in power they plan to deliver more homes, but for Thanet this will probably mean pushing more land that’s agricultural, more overpriced homes no one in Thanet can afford.

Minster Marshes – There is a campaign against the National Grid plans for a converter station as part of the Sea Link project. What are your views on this?

The campaign against the National Grid’s plans for a converter station at Minster Marshes highlights a complex issue that requires balancing environmental protection, community interests, and the need for modern, reliable energy infrastructure. Careful consideration of mitigation measures and active community engagement will be crucial in addressing the concerns raised by the campaign while advancing necessary infrastructure projects.

Minster Marshes are likely home to various species of flora and fauna. The construction and operation of a converter station could disrupt local ecosystems, potentially threatening wildlife habitats and biodiversity, plus Wetlands like Minster Marshes provide critical environmental benefits, including water filtration, flood control, and carbon sequestration. Any development that alters these areas could diminish these natural services.

My final thoughts are simple, if elected I will work with fellow MP’s and lobby Parliament to protect our marshes, as unlike the airport this cannot be lost.

Southern Water sewage releases in our sea – how would you tackle this?

Where do I start, there is not a single person in Thanet (don’t quote me on that) that doesn’t have thoughts or connections with this, I mean that sewage station at Palm Bay is useless, it’s about a useful as the stuff that flushes down my toilet. Water companies and especially their owners/shareholders over the years have taken the right p*** out of us!

Billions of pounds spent in evidence, but we have to look at Victorian pipes and sewage systems, over-development and not consultations between developers and water companies, rain soak away flooding our sewers, but also no macerators in our homes, grey water systems or black tanks, to elevate the pressures on pipework, plus our treatment plants cannot cope. It’s a well-documented fact many treatment plants do not treat 100% meaning polluted waste gets dumped in our seas and rivers.

But to help pay for upgrades over time, and to reduce our costs we pay, but also water companies overtime, co-operation and collaboration between water companies and electricity companies along with developers and planners could introduce a strong strategy to create FREE electricity generation, reducing our water and electricity bills, whilst delivering electricity to the power grid and money to upgrade water network, pipes and pumping/treatment stations, no one seems to be talking about this except me.

With water turbines in both clean water pipes and sewage pipes, across the networks generating electricity, helping the environment, and investing back into the systems and networks, this would over time save us the taxpayers billions.

Cost of living – Thanet families are struggling to make ends meet, businesses also struggle as a result and there are a large number of empty shops in our towns. How will you help the economy to recover and how will you help our families and businesses?

I work, but yes I still use a billing sheet, watch what I spend, and average out my income and expenditure. I know what it is like to be cold, hungry, and scared of being homeless, over my lifetime, and it’s never been harder than now.

Even though I am standing as a candidate and if by miracle those who don’t vote or aren’t sure actually stand up and vote me in, even now in the back of my mind I’m thinking the public will judge me, so, even as a politician I would want to save taxpayers money. Knowing how difficult it has been and still is, I know how many feel. People do not have disposable income, struggle to pay rent never mind put savings aside so if people are struggling, and not spending our towns, will become ghost towns – plain and simple.

Whoever is in Government would be lying if they didn’t mention our country is in debt with annual re-payments of 90 BILLION per year, but it seems the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Our basic needs are not hard to realise, it’s not rocket science – clothes on our back, a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and to be warm, and have good education and health, these things should be paramount to everyone a basic need!

We all know what’s needed but it’s how do we pay for it? Our country is being propped up by volunteers and charities, The National Lottery Community Fund reported that in just three years, nearly two million volunteers contributed around £4 billion to the UK economy. According to a report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), charities delivered £16.8 billion worth of public services in 2019, underscoring their crucial role in the UK’s public sector.

NHS – Thanet has a severe shortage of dentists and there are not enough GPs, so getting an appointment is problematic.

There is also a desperate need for improved mental health services, for both adults and children. What are your views on this?

Tell me about it, just this week alone I’ve finally had an X-Ray at the hospital because my dentists didn’t have the machine and said two weeks wait, turned out to be nearly ten weeks, ridiculous. It all came down to equipment and trained staff but let’s not kid ourselves the NHS is such a huge organisation with many parts, departments, services, and is designed to cater FREE at the point of entry including most treatments, to a population of age range BIRTH to DEATH, In my opinion, the NHS needs more than just money, it needs an EMERGENCY TEAM of professionals choosing ten hospitals to work on and encourage a new way of doing things, if a Nightingale Hospital can be set up in a week, and a Military Hospital in days, surely we can move on this problem, and fix it once and for all.

Youth services: There has been a loss of funding for some youth services (such as Pie Factory and The Pavilion in Thanet). What are your views on the provision of youth services and how this should be done?

As a former Civilian Instructor with Cadet/Youth groups, plus also working with young artists/bands through talent and music management (, I fully understand our youth need more than school/college to develop their skills, abilities, meet and socialise and foster good mental health. What really annoys me, is adults sometimes forget the young and youth are our future, and if we treat them better, they will, in turn, have more respect for us oldies. Youth Clubs, Arts, Music, Skate Parks, and places like Sure Start all cut in funding, it’s a disgrace, how can we have a better, stronger and viable future if we are not investing in our youth?

If voted into parliament along with my 27 featured priorities all on my website, with more on my leaflets, I will as I always have, help, develop and encourage but force issues I am passionate about, but I would go further, and encourage youth organisations to work more together, allow mutual promotion, perhaps encourage group funding, but also get youth involved more in their futures and the decision-making process.

Manston airport – the DCO is now confirmed, and it appears there will be no further legal appeals. What is your view of the airport/cargo hub scheme and what involvement, if any, will you have with the scheme going forward?

I fully understand over the years this issue has been a main focus by many residents, more so on the Ramsgate side, including the Ramsgate Town Council to whom active members are on campaign groups still, to prevent, block any future of Manston airport, but whether for or against surely with the DCO confirmed it’s now time to fully support the owners and airport.

With regards to worries around air pollution, many airlines have committed to ambitious sustainability targets, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. They are investing in new technologies and sustainable practices to meet these goals. Plus research and development in electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems are underway, with several prototypes and small aircraft already in testing phases. These technologies promise to significantly reduce emissions for short-haul flights in the future.

For me personally I remember the airshows, red arrows, Concorde, and Search and Rescue, but through me being a Cadet and later Civilian Instructor over the years I have loved flying in both gliders, Twin Seat, helicopters and many planes, Manston has two museums and two helicopter companies flying daily but more than that, the airfield is a Battle of Britain Airfield and also has connections with the Dam Busters Bouncing bombs which were testing between Minnis Bay and Reculver.

Finally on Manston, the airfield has been there far longer than anyone alive in Thanet, before many developments and people arrived, I am prepared to give the airfield a chance, as it’s a huge asset to Thanet, but if you want the airport bear in mind Labour does not!

Asylum – what are your policies on asylum and small boat crossings?

More simply than you think if there is a global problem with illegal migration and especially boat crossings as an example, STOP the manufacture of these boats, or license their sales, these large 18 – 20 man boats are no use to anyone other than the people crossing the channel.

We have to place a cap on migration bring it back down to say 50,000 per year, this balances those entering and those leaving, but addressing the challenges of asylum and small boat crossings requires a balanced approach that combines efficient processing, safe legal routes, robust security measures, and a strong humanitarian commitment.

By working collaboratively with international partners and investing in support services, it is possible to manage migration effectively while upholding the UK’s obligations to protect those fleeing persecution, The downside is we seem to be paying millions out including paying France but nothing seems to be happening or stopping.

I would always want to help people, support people, but there are limits to what we as a country can do, especially in light of our needing desperately to sort out our own first, if more foreigners and people needing help are coming here, and our foreign aid budget is still going abroad, where is the sense in that, maybe would cut the budget, countries will then get on board more to tackle illegal migration, to a point our foreign aid budget is restored.


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Upset of Independent candidates over lack of invite to East Thanet hustings


  1. “research and development in electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems are underway, with several prototypes and small aircraft already in testing phases. These technologies promise to significantly reduce emissions for short-haul flights in the future.”
    Promises. Hot air. “In the future”.
    The Climate is stressed right now. Wild fires in Greece and Canada. People dying of heat stroke.
    We need a solution now, not in 26 years’ time.
    Major aviation is looking at the manufacture of Sustainable Aviation Fuel … ie refining chip fat and so on. That will provide a very small % of the fuel needed for Aviation.
    Let’s face it. Aviation is not going to be environmentally friendly any time soon.
    As to your plea that we should support the airport (if ever it opens): it would never have closed in the first place if the noble burgers of Thanet had flown from it when it was open.
    But too few did, so it went bust, owing £Ms.

    • I respect that everyone has an opinion, whether we agree or disagree is another matter, however, the UK contributes very little pollution compared to the rest of the world, and locally due to our coastline, ample north sea breezes our congested roads and constant diversions roadworks is probably causing more pollution than any aircraft which when the airport/cargo hub does take off flights will not be excessive. I will always support the re-opening of this land for aviation, and if this was not to be the case I would protect the land for aviation and historic use only, building on the aviation history and creating larger museums. Furthermore, I would fully support both Helicopter companies and try to introduce Gliders, maybe search and rescue!

  2. “when the airport/cargo hub does take off flights will not be excessive”
    According to the Development Consent Order, issued by the SoS, 17000 air traffic movements a year will be permitted. There is no restriction on unscheduled night flights.
    17000 ATMs per year averages out at 48 flights every day.
    I think that’s “excessive”

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