Craig presents Malcolm’s Hairstylists with South Thanet Business Responsible Award 2017

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Craig Mackinlay MP has presented Malcom Cox, the owner of Malcolm’s Harstylists in Broadstairs, with a Responsible Business Champion award after being invited by the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group (APCRG) to nominate a South Thanet business for the honour.

Since it was established in August 1972, Malcolm's has grown to be one of Thanet's leading men's hairdressers and has eight gents' stylists who have experience cutting men's hair of all ages and are experts in all the latest men's hair styles.

For the last six years Malcolm’s has been a part of a business enterprise Dragons’ Den-type scheme for Year 10 school children, whereby they are invited to put together a team and start a business from scratch. In addition, Malcolm’s work with East Kent Business Partnership to provide work experience and work placement opportunities for children at grammar, secondary, academy and special needs’ schools.

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Malcolm has also been President of the Broadstairs & St Peters Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Visitor Information Kiosk in Broadstairs and Chairman of Broadstairs Food Festival, a marvellous event which helps to bring 46,000 people from all over Kent into the town.

The Responsible Business Champions scheme was set up by the APCRG to celebrate the achievements of community-orientated businesses like Malcolm’s Hairstylist’s.

Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

“Businesses like Malcolm’s Hairstylists are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our economy, employing many local people. From high-tech manufacturing firms to bakers, retailers, restaurants and social enterprises, the UK is home to a record number of small businesses.

“Malcolm Cox deserves our respect for all the work he does locally, be that training apprentices, employing local people, or his many longstanding roles representing South Thanet’s businesses and tourist industry.

“I was delighted to award Malcolm with his South Thanet Business Responsible Business Champion certificate and thank him for all he does for South Thanet.”

Craig chairs public meeting on rural bus services at Staple Church

South Thanet’s Member of Parliament, Craig Mackinlay MP, has brought residents, the Parish Council and Stagecoach together at a public meeting in Staple, attended by over 120 people, after the recent revision of bus routes by Stagecoach left many residents in the village without access to public transport.

Craig’s public meeting, which took place last Friday, also follows recent briefings Kent County Council has organised to highlight how community transport schemes can be brought to rural communities in response to specific local transport needs.

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Stagecoach South East’s Managing Director, Philip Norwell also joined Craig at the event to listen to residents’ concerns, update them on the current situation and explore the way forward.

Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

“The withdrawal of the 13A and 14 routes - which served Staple - affects both younger and older residents of Staple and the surrounding villages. The nearest bus service is over a mile away, as are the nearest shops and many residents’ GP surgeries. I am well aware that this distance is too great for residents and I am now receiving reports that many elderly residents are having to consider moving from the village.

 “At the meeting we had a frank exchange of views, highly charged at times, centring around Stagecoach’s economic and strategic considerations leading to their decision to cease the services in September. Residents with children also expressed their anger at paying for KCC’s ‘Young Persons Travel Pass’ only to find that the bus service outside of the school specific routes were subsequently withdrawn.

“We agreed to explore a number of options – 1. whether a KCC supported service supplied by Regent coaches elsewhere in East Kent, but similarly served by an existing Stagecoach route, could be moved to serve Staple and other local hamlets, and 2. to pursue a Community Bus option that would provide a local loop to then plug in to the frequent existing Stagecoach services along the A257 route of Sandwich to Canterbury, with Wingham serving as the central node. Stagecoach offered their specialist help to support either of these options.” 

Craig accompanies Sir Roger Gale MP to Margate Mosque in North Thanet

South Thanet’s Member of Parliament, Craig Mackinlay MP, has accompanied Sir Roger Gale MP on a visit to Margate Mosque, also known as the Al-Birr Community Centre and Mosque.

After a tour of the building and Friday Prayers (Juma’a), Craig and Sir Roger met with the Imam and the worshippers to discuss how they could better engage with the Muslim community across Thanet.

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Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

“I would like to thank Mr Huq for hosting our visit and everyone at the Al-Birr Community Centre and Mosque for the very warm welcome we received.

“Around 850 Muslims live in my South Thanet constituency, and so it was good to be able to answer their questions, which were very much business oriented.

“The Al-Birr Community Centre and Mosque was a church in years gone by – it is good to see such an iconic building alive once more and being put to valid community use.”

Craig to host Parliamentary Debate on the costs of drug addiction

Craig Mackinlay MP has secured a Commons' debate titled 'The human and financial costs of drug addiction'. The debate will take place in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 22 November between 2.30pm and 4pm.

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The MP, who represents the constituency of South Thanet, has long been concerned about the dangers and costs to society posed by drug use which stem from the many years he has sat as a magistrate in Kent.

After his election to Parliament in 2015, Craig became Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cannabis: Harmful Effects on Developing Brains, which is supported by MPs from all parties. The APPG's principal aim is to raise awareness of the continued and growing danger to children, teenagers and their families of cannabis use in particular, but extending to wider drug use.

Craig's debate is particularly timely given the figures recently revealed by Kent County Council's Road Safety Team which showed that the number of drug drivers causing serious injury and death on Kent's roads are increasing.

Craig Mackinlay MP, said:

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"The overall cost of drug addiction is huge costing the UK over £15bn every year. But in addition to the  financial costs, I also want to bring to the public record the very real human cost of drug addiction in the UK: the damage to physical and mental health; the spread of disease; and, of course, premature death. The USA is gripped by a massive escalation in Opioid related deaths, with 65,000 recorded in 2016. This is a death toll on a biblical scale.

“The effects of skunk cannabis on youngsters is increasingly being recognised, not least because of the significant rise in traffic related deaths in Colorado following decriminalisation.

“Closer to home, there were 59 incidents on Kent roads as a result of drugs in 2016 - 16 of which resulted in serious injuries and named as the cause of 3 road accident deaths. My concern is that this trend is rising.

“This debate is an excellent opportunity to raise the very important issues surrounding the costs of drug addiction with the Minister and my Parliamentary colleagues.

“I am very much looking forward to it."

Craig celebrates local charity trustees for their hard work during Trustees’ Week 2017

During Trustees’ Week 2017, Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, is thanking charity trustees for their dedicated work in running local charities and serving the community. Trustees’ Week runs from 13-17 November 2017.

Craig supporting Lions World Sight Awareness

Craig supporting Lions World Sight Awareness

There are around 260 registered charities operating in South Thanet, offering a number of essential services both locally and nationally. Trustees, most of whom are volunteers, are the heart and soul of these charities and ultimately take responsibility for the charity’s crucial work.

Trustees’ Week celebrates the people behind the country’s thriving charitable sector and aims to encourage others to consider trusteeship. It highlights the invaluable skills and experience one can gain whilst making significant progress within a charity they are passionate about.

Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

Craig taking part in the #EveryCanHelps campaign at Tesco, Westwood Cross for Trussell Trust Food Bank

Craig taking part in the #EveryCanHelps campaign at Tesco, Westwood Cross for Trussell Trust Food Bank

“We have some fantastic local charities in South Thanet doing essential work locally and nationally. Trustees hold a breath of skills and experience that collectively come together to make charitable causes and projects possible. I want to take this opportunity during Trustees’ Week to applaud their hard work and their dedication to the people of this community. 

“I encourage everyone, especially those who are passionate about a particular cause, to consider trusteeship and use their strengths and ambitions as drivers for change. It is a great way to learn new skills and gain invaluable experience, which of course could lead to new opportunities.”

Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

“Trustees are the people behind the scenes working tirelessly to tackle some of society’s most complex issues and assist some of the most vulnerable of people; I would like to use this Trustees’ Week to celebrate the vital work that they are doing.

“As the backbone of their charities, it’s important that trustees collectively bring a breadth of skills and experiences from all walks of life.  We want to encourage people from every background to consider becoming a charity trustee to make sure charities can meet the needs of their diverse beneficiaries.”

If you want to make a difference or fight for a cause you are passionate about, trusteeship is a fantastic way to achieve this. The Charity Commission has an online register of over 167,000 charities where you can search for registered charities that may work in an area you care about.

If you want to know more about what it means to be a charity trustee, you can find more information on”

To learn more about Trustees’ Week and trusteeship, visit


A trip to Brussels, the Armistice and the National Citizen Service

How the steady movement of the ship of state can be upset, and in such a short time. Since writing just a couple of weeks ago, we have lost two cabinet members, seen revelations coming out of the Westminster bubble of sexual harassment with names appearing on spreadsheets, many relating to historic indiscretions or wrongly interpreted misadventure. Some accusations are serious and they must be dealt with according to law, but we must have justice after proper investigation, not hype based on finger-pointing. This is not how we do things in Britain but we have descended, worryingly, into a new world of assumed guilt. We have already seen one suicide by a politician. Don’t forget, people in the public eye have families and feelings too.

On to more relevant matters for the future of our country. As a member of the Brexit Select Committee I spent a little under 24 hours in Brussels meeting the key figures negotiating the EU’s position on Brexit. These were Michel Barnier, the EU Commission’s chief negotiator and Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister who, as an MEP, will be shepherding the required vote on any deal through the European Parliament. I’d recommend anyone to take a trip to the institutions of the European Union – surreal, bizarre and entirely detached from the real world issues facing citizens is the conclusion you would most obviously draw. The same applies to the EU’s stance on negotiations with the UK. Put aside for one moment that the EU27 benefit from a monumental annual trade surplus of at least £80Bn with the UK, and we are one of their best markets, the Commission refuses to discuss what future trade and any ‘implementation period’ will look like before we’ve agreed Phase One:- the legal position of EU citizens in the UK (the Commission wants the European Court of Justice to be the ultimate arbiter), the Northern Ireland/Eire border (it demands NI stay in the Single Market and Customs Union), and demands an untold sum of cash, upwards of £60Bn (half of the UK’s NHS budget). We are getting to a point where ‘no deal’ looks cheaper, better and allows the UK to re-enter the world as a true global player far more simply.

Locally, the annual Royal British Legion Armistice events have dominated the diary. The Annual Festival of Remembrance at the Winter Gardens featuring the Band of Gurkhas, complete with Kukri knife dance was stunning, the Poppy coffee morning, hosted by the Anchor at Wingham was well supported, and the service of remembrance at Ramsgate on Sunday was hugely attended by the Armed Services, Cadets and the Scouts/Guides/Cubs.

I also supported the local National Citizens Service ‘Dragons Den’ event where I took the part as one of the judges to assess the students’ social action projects. The teams chose Mental Health and Domestic Violence as issues of local concern. I agree with them that these are key issues to be urgently addressed.

This week in Westminster we have Committee stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, and next week the Budget. I have been campaigning, as ever, for Fuel and Beer duty freezes and tax simplification. Busy times.

Craig supports Poppy Coffee Morning at the Anchor Pub in Wingham

Last Saturday, South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, joined residents at a Poppy Coffee Morning at the Anchor Pub in Wingham.

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The Anchor’s Landlords, Kevin and Michelle Abbott, very kindly gave locals the run of the pub and the organiser, Lynne Connolly, achieved a life ambition of serving behind the bar - albeit tea and coffee!

It was very much a village activity with all the shops and restaurants giving prizes for the raffle. They also had a cake stall and a bric-a-brac stall.

Last year’s event raised over £500 towards Wingham’s Poppy Appeal which totalled over £4000

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Craig Mackinlay MP commented:

“I was very pleased to be able to support Wingham’s Poppy Coffee morning, which was once again very well supported by local residents.

“Lynne Connolly did a fantastic job organising the event on behalf of the village, and my thanks also must go to Kevin and Michelle Abbott for allowing us to use the Anchor Pub.

“Our Armed Forces personnel and their families are, rightly, held in very high regard in our country. As South Thanet’s Member of Parliament, I will take every opportunity to join my constituents in honouring the incredible sacrifices they make while protecting our freedom and keeping Britain safe.”

My latest thoughts on events in Westminster and South Thanet

Both old and new themes have dominated my last two weeks in Parliament and in the constituency. My work on the Leaving the EU Brexit Committee is a fast moving one. Last week we took evidence from the Secretary of State for Leaving the EU. Much is still hugely uncertain, notably what, if any trade ‘transition deal’ might look like. The unanswered question is what ongoing influence EU institutions might have during this potential period? My preference is little to none so that the real Brexit dividend of new international trade deals can be prepared and ready from day one. To that end I was pleased to support my Dover and Deal colleague, Charlie Elphicke MP at his Adjournment debate to encourage all necessary readiness by customs and border force in the event of a ‘no deal’. If that were to happen we must be ready for it, and be ready for it without fear, as WTO trade terms are the global norm for most international trade. I will be coming back to Brexit issues regularly in future reports.

The Boundary Commission published its latest proposals to more fairly equalise electorate sizes across UK constituencies and to prepare for a reduction in constituencies from 650 to 600. Some common sense has prevailed in that South Thanet (proposed to be renamed East Thanet and Sandwich) is not so savagely altered from their initial proposal. Their latest plan is still, in my view, unsound in that Wingham and the Stour villages face removal from the existing constituency, and the addition of some existing North Thanet constituency wards. It seems to me unnecessarily disruptive, when a slightly bigger constituency is needed to take out long-established areas (for South Thanet dating back to 1983) and adding additional ones over and above, causing further dislocation elsewhere. There is still huge uncertainty as to whether these proposals will actually go through at all.

I was delighted to support my Parliamentary colleague, Theresa Villiers MP in her 10 minute rule Bill for the prohibition of live animal exports. Her proposed Bill outlines exactly what campaigners have been arguing for both succinctly and bluntly. Private Members Bills, 10 Minute Rule Bills and Presentation Bills are all means by which backbench MPs can push a law change. The most powerful effect of such backbench activity is to push the government into accepting them and incorporating their spirit into a full government Bill. The mood music from DEFRA is good, so we can hope for real change in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill.

Performance at the East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust remains short of acceptable targets. The Chief Executive has recently departed and the ongoing discussion about the extent of future services at Kent and Canterbury Hospital continues. I was pleased to attend and speak at the CHEK (Concern for Health in East Kent) meeting last Saturday. The NHS is rated internationally as the world’s no.1 but survival rates for cancer remain poor, and customer service levels do not compare well with international comparators. Of course many would say ‘just throw more money at it’. That was tried before and simply did not result in significant improvements. I say again that a more nuanced solution is needed to a system that is unwieldy, bureaucratic and monolithic.

I held a further Ramsgate Regeneration Alliance meeting last week – again well supported, with senior police officers in attendance to answer real concerns about escalations in late night anti-social behaviour. We also received a presentation from the new, dedicated Heritage Action Zone officer allocated to Ramsgate.