South Thanet

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18838 (38.1%)
Labour: 11740 (23.8%)
Lib Dem: 932 (1.9%)
Green: 1076 (2.2%)
UKIP: 16026 (32.4%)
Independent: 61 (0.1%)
Others: 728 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 2812 (5.7%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The eastern part of the Thanet council area and two wards from the Dover council area.

Main population centres: Ramsgate, Sandwich, Broadstairs, St Peters.

Profile: A coastal seat, snaking around the eastern coast of the Isle of Thanet and then south into Dover to include the historic Cinque port of Sandwich and the rural villages inland from it, including Ash and Wingham. The main centres of population is the ferry port, fishing town and coastal resort of Ramsgate, the more genteel seaside town of Broadstairs and Cliftonville, a residential part of Margate. Thanet suffers from the economic problems often associated with declining seaside towns, and has some of the most deprived wards in the otherwise generally affluent Kent.

Politics: Historically this was a safely Conservative area, the Isle of Thanet seat that existed until 1974 was solidly Conservative throughout its history, as was this seat`s immediate predecessor Thanet East. In 1992 Jonathan Aitken enjoyed an apparently safe 23% majority here, but in 1997 he lost his seat to Labour`s Stephen Ladyman and subsequently his liberty after being found guilty and jailed for perjury. The seat was regained by the Conservatives in 2010 under Laura Sandys, a Tory moderate and pro-European. The 2015 election was one of the most high profile constituency battles, fought between the UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Craig Mackinlay, a UKIP to Conservative defector chosen to replace Sandys, and the Labour candidate Will Scobie. Ultimately Mackinlay won, prompting Nigel Farage to briefly honour a promise to resign as UKIP leader.


Current MP
CRAIG MACKINLAY (Conservative) Born Chatham. Educated at Rainham Mark Grammar and Birmingham University. Former chartered accountant and tax advisor. Medway councillor since 2007. Contested Gillingham 1992 as Independent, 1997 as UKIP, Totnes 2001 for UKIP, Gillingham 2005 for UKIP, Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for the Conservatives. First elected as MP for Thanet South in 2015. Acting leader of UKIP 1997, Deputy leader of UKIP 1997-2000. Defected to the Conservatives in 2005.
Past Results
2010
Con: 22043 (48%)
Lab: 14426 (31%)
LDem: 6935 (15%)
UKIP: 2529 (6%)
MAJ: 7617 (17%)
2005*
Con: 15996 (39%)
Lab: 16660 (40%)
LDem: 5431 (13%)
UKIP: 2079 (5%)
Oth: 1076 (3%)
MAJ: 664 (2%)
2001
Con: 16210 (41%)
Lab: 18002 (46%)
LDem: 3706 (9%)
UKIP: 501 (1%)
Oth: 1012 (3%)
MAJ: 1792 (5%)
1997
Con: 17899 (40%)
Lab: 20777 (46%)
LDem: 5263 (12%)
Oth: 1049 (2%)
MAJ: 2878 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CRAIG MACKINLAY (Conservative) Born Chatham. Educated at Rainham Mark Grammar and Birmingham University. Chartered accountant and tax advisor. Medway councillor since 2007. Contested Gillingham 1992 as Independent, 1997 as UKIP, Totnes 2001 for UKIP, Gillingham 2005 for UKIP, Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for the Conservatives. Acting leader of UKIP 1997, Deputy leader of UKIP 1997-2000. Defected to the Conservatives in 2005.
WILL SCOBIE (Labour) Educated at Dane Court Grammar and York University. Thanet councillor since 2011, Kent county councillor since 2013.
RUSS TIMPSON (Liberal Democrat) Educated at South Bank University. Businessman, fire engineer and former Royal Navy submariner.
NIGEL FARAGE (UKIP) Born 1964, Farnborough. Educated at Dulwich College. Former commodities broker. Contested Itchen, Test and Avon in 1994 European election. Member of the European Parliament for South-East England since 1999. Contested Eastleigh by-election 1994, Salisbury 1997, Bexhill and Battle 2001, South Thanet 2005, Bromley and Chistlehurst 2006 by-election, Buckingham 2010. Leader of UKIP 2006-2009 and since 2010.
IAN DRIVER (Green) Thanet councillor since 2011, originally elected for Labour.
GRAHAME BIRCHALL (United Thanet) Born 1952. Businessman and former serviceman. Former Canterbury councillor for the Labour party.
DEAN MCCASTREE (Independent) Born St Lucia. Financial Trader. Former Thanet councillor, former Lambeth councillor. Contested Brent Central 2010.
ZEBADIAH ABU-OBADIAH (Al-Zebabist) Musician.
NIGEL ASKEW (Reality) Publican.
RUTH BAILEY (Manston Airport Independent) Teacher.
AL MURRAY (No description) Born 1968, Stewkley. Educated at Bedford School and Oxford University. Comedian.
Links
Comments - 1,939 Responses on “Thanet South”
  1. I agree with HH: Farage would probably win a by-election here easily.

  2. CCHQ reportedly expect to be charged here over expense irregularities so time to start taking the potential for a by-election seriously

    I believe Farage will win easily if he chooses to stand again

    If the charges spread to some of the other seats investigated by Michael Crick then Theresa May could even at risk of losing her majority because of expense violations. It could force her into an early GE which she doesn’t want to hold.

  3. Whilst Farage’s best political days are behind him, I can’t see him running for Parliament again.

    If he did Cons/Labour (depending on the seat) would throw everything at it to keep him out – ditto where/whenever Nuttle stands.

  4. I disagree with both of your statements. Farage will (for a change) be able to legitimately stand here without being labelled a carpetbagger, on the prexext of being unfairly defeated in 2015. It’s not at all clear that his best days are yet behind him and in these volatile times anything can happen.

    The Tories and Labour “threw everything” at Thanet South last time which is why they (allegedly) massively bust the spending limits. Not sure what else they could throw yet remain inside the law, and why it would be in Labour’s interest to prevent a Tory defeat. UKIP would very easily win a by-election here IMO.

  5. I was referring to a scenario where UKIP targeted a Labour seat.

    But in the larger picture it is as much in Labour’s interests to keep UKIP out of the Commons as it is the Conservatives.

    Come 2019 there’ll be no MEPs and UKIP will be reduced to a handful of Welsh and London AMs and possibly Douglas Carswell.

  6. Nigel Farage has landed himself a job on LBC:

    http://order-order.com/2017/01/05/farage-joins-lbc/

    I wonder how he’ll cope when the programme scheduling conflicts with a vote in the European Parliament?

  7. Lol

  8. UKIP have formally nominated Nigel Farage for a peerage:

    http://order-order.com/2017/01/06/ukip-write-to-honours-committee-requesting-knighthood-for-farage/

    But surely Mr Farage, having campaigned all his political career against unelected bureaucrats, will decline the offer 😉

  9. According to The Times, the Tories are increasingly worried about the election expenses investigation. Could we indeed see the 2015 result invalidated here and what would happen in the by-election? You’d think it favoured a Con hold with both Labour and UKIP down on the last election but it could be interesting…

  10. I still doubt anything will come of this, and if it does then the ensuing by-election here would probably return a Con hold. It’s the Tory/LD marginals of the Southwest that would be more interesting.

  11. The SW former-marginals & other expense by-elections, because of the number, would break a few normal by-election circumstances:
    1) a potential ability to decide/change the actual government or its policy.
    2) LibDems spread far far thinner than their usual success requires

  12. Craig McKinley questioned for 6 hours by police under caution last week RE: election expenses
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/14/conservative-mp-craig-mackinlay-interviewed-caution-election/

    Farage has answered a few times now recently he will “probably” be the UKIP candidate in the event of any by-election.

    There’s a complication of exactly how many bridges Aaron Banks wants to be aflame UKIP-wise at the moment. (He’s been suspended… having basically lapsed his membership, but also the amount of criticism of both Nuttall, the NEC, and UKIP in general has been in freefall). & he’s pledged that he will be starting his own party…
    He has some friends in the UKIP membership still, but presumably standing or interfering (vocally or otherwise) against the Great Nigel would torch those too).

  13. ‘It’s the Tory/LD marginals of the Southwest that would be more interesting.’

    Given that nearly all the seats under question voted Leave, I would have thought the Tories will be the clear favourites in the unlikely event of any of them being re-contested

    The Lib Dems suffered some huge defeats throughout the rural South West in 2015 and I think they are better placed to challenge the Tories again in South West London and other Remain strongholds like Oxford and Cambridge

    Even former strongholds like Bath and Cheltenham seem to have incumbent Tory MPs that fit in much better with their liberal electorates than many of their colleagues might

  14. Yeah this seat looks comfortable Tory so long as Brexit is in people’s minds.

  15. I am not sure what Brexit has got to do with it given that tboth the Conservative MP and UKIP are firmly infavour of Brexit. More to the point is that the UKIP candidate will not be the Party leasder, and that UKIP’s record in running Thanet District Council is lacklustre, albeit they do not get up to the sharp practices of their prredecessors.

    People here have more or less forgotten about the election expenses scandal of 2015; but what is the position if the Conservative MP is found guilty of such offences in 2015 when he has subsequently been re-elected? Would we still have to have a bye-election?

  16. Frederic,

    I agree that the position of those MPs still under investigation from 2015 is extremely unsatisfactory (see my comment on the Torbay page). We still have no formal information as to who they are and should they be prosecuted and found guilty, their position would surely be untenable.

    But … if you were a government having to face half a dozen or so by-elections, wouldn’t you prefer to do so starting with an overall majority around 100 or one of 20? If this issue is one of the factors which persuaded May to go earlier – and that is unproven – her reasoning must surely be that should the worst come to the worst, her government will be in a stronger position to ride out the storm.

  17. I don’t know the rules here – but surely if MPs are convicted after be re-elected on June 8th then only the election results for the 2015-17 parliament are voided, and the MPs should be allowed to continue serving?

    Unless of course the conviction includes a jail sentence, in which case they should be dismissed under the amendment to the Representation of the People Act, written in the aftermath of Bobby Sands’ election and death, which bars prisoners from political office.

  18. Polltroll,

    It is about as clear as mud, partly because I don’t think that there is a precedent. However based upon the Woolas case after the 2010 GE in Oldham East, I assume that a potential penalty would be being barred from holding office, in which case why should the fact that they have subsequently been elected be a factor?

    The reputational damage to both the individuals and party would also of course be considerable especially if either decided to just brazen it out.

  19. CPS expenses decisions out tomorrow. My prediction is whatever the outcome it won’t be a massive deal – worst case Tories need to make a small number of late candidate changes, more likely no charges will be brought against MPs, either way it is an issue few except partisans care a jot about.

  20. Quite – the people who complain about this are people who wouldn’t ever vote Conservative anyway.

  21. PT – the bar (quite rightly as it’s a fraud offence) precludes standing or being agent at an election for a 3 year period from the date of conviction.

    That’s why it would rule them out; but, as I might have said previously the Agents are usually held liable (if anyone is), although a dozen or so manly local govt candidates have been convicted.

  22. PT – PS prisoners aren’t barred from political office either.

    Terry Fields was an MP and continued to correspond with constituents from jail in 1991. I think Tommy Sheridan did likewise although by that stage I think he was only a Cllr.

    IIRC the bar is if you’re sentenced to over 12 months’ in prison then you forfeit your seat in the House. [You do not lose your Peerage although you do forfeit any Honours] Equally Cllrs only forfeit their seats not because they are in jail, but only if they fail to attend 6 monthly full council meetings. Indeed in my own area 5% of sitting Cllrs have criminal convictions.

  23. As expected no charges re the battle bus, though the case regarding this constituency remains open.

  24. In all likelihood the CPS will take no action here too. I don’t see any reason why this case should be substantially different to the others. It appears the only reason why this case remains open is that Kent Police were slow at passing on the file.

    And that will be the best part of a year of Michael Crick’s life that he’ll never get back.

  25. The allegations in this seat are on the face of it more serious, but it is still extremely unlikely that the candidate will face prosecution, and no action must be probable.

  26. But watch the Lib Dems here.
    Some of the mud will stick and there are lots of Labour voters looking for a new home.
    With suspendors momentum, it will be a Lib Dem gain by 5-8000.

  27. The Lib Dems will win here the day when the Monster Raving Loony Party gain Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

  28. ‘The allegations in this seat are on the face of it more serious, but it is still extremely unlikely that the candidate will face prosecution, and no action must be probable.’

    Everyone knows that nearly every party is guilty of this type of thing, so the real crime in this case is doing it in such a cack-handed way as to get caught

    It’s also not really the sort of thing that voters really care about but given that Tory candidates had so blatantly been caught one wonders why the CPS hasn’t taken any action – unless they intend to do so with Mackinlay

    Those Tories calling for members of the police to be sacked etc have got some nerve – maybe a sign of the overconfidence that the likelihood of winning a landslide breeds

  29. Mike Smithson’s gone rather quiet on all this now that there haven’t been any prosecutions. He’s also had nothing to say about the allegations of the Lib Dems trying to bribe the Greens into stepping down in the Richmond Park byelection

  30. The position about the 2015 election here appears to be as clear as mud concerning the possibility of legal charges.

    Perhaps I could observe that more than one candidate appeared to be spending exceptionally heavily hre in 2015.

    Meanwhile, can I point out that UKIP lost its Councillors in the County Council seats for Ramsgate (a two-member ward Last month. One of the seats was won by a Conservatvie and the other (very unusually given the political situation) by Labour. Labour are now putting their County Council candidate who LOST up as their candidate for the General Election..

  31. Not that unusual on the District Council Ramsgate once held 3 Labour councillors, since UKIP took control of the council there have been two by elections in Ramsgate on UKIP hold the other a Labour gain

  32. Could Labour return to a very distant second here because of UKIP’s collapse.

  33. The Labour Party in this seat are to my mind on the extreme left of their Party. However, if UKIP here collapse big time, which is possible, the County Election results suggest that Labour could do surprisingly well here

  34. Labour have benefited from UKIPs collapse in places like Ramsgate. The UKIP run council has been a shambles.

  35. ”the County Election results suggest that Labour could do surprisingly well here”

    @Frederic.

    Huh no they don’t. Labour barely topped the poll in Ramsgate in a split division with the Tories (which is the same as the Tory landslide in 2009) but got blown out of the water in Cliftonville, Broadstairs and Sandwich (roughly the total area that makes up South Thanet).

    Totals for Ramsgate, Cliftonville, Broadstairs, Sandwich (roughly the area of South Thanet):

    Con: 11,830 (49.0%)
    Lab: 6,168 (25.5%)
    UKIP: 3,361 (13.9%)
    LD: 1,546 (6.4%)
    Grn: 576 (2.4%)
    Oth: 668 (2.8%)

  36. UKIP’s collapse might help both Labour and the Tories in Ramsgate town (though even there it still helps the Tories more) but it overwhelmingly favours the Tories in the rest of South Thanet in Cliftonville, Broadstairs and Sandwich.

  37. Perhps the most notable thing here is the low key nature of the campaign. There are certainly no billboard posters this time! There are a few Labour posters in windows; but that is about it.

    I stick to my observation that Labour could do unexpectedly well here. Which is not to say that they will win.

  38. There have been almost no poster boards this year

  39. Cliftonville divides into two very disparate parts; Cliftonville Chalk and Cliftonville Cheese. In one of them, which is the most populous ward in Thanet,, with the collapse of UKIP Labour could do quite well. That said choosing an candidate of Asian heritage hasn’t in an area like Thanet done Labour any electoral favours at all.

  40. Craig Mackinlay and two others charged over election expenses.

    No comment from him yet, but I assume he will campaign as usual. Surely no-one else can win here?

  41. I don’t know Jack – anything is possible.

  42. Innocent until proved guilty in a Court of Law.

  43. “Innocent until proved guilty in a Court of Law.”

    Doesn’t matter, because for the next week he’s being judged in the court of public opinion. And it’s decisions are often irrational and/or unfair.

  44. (Much as I might get judged in the court of UKPR for not being able to use apostrophes properly. Oops.)

  45. This is major news in the week before an election, and I would think means the outcome here is up in the air.

  46. Craig Macinnlay has been charged over possible election offences before and during the 2015 General Election but is innocent until and if he is found guilty.

    Local people have long since gone on to think about other things. It won’t make much difference to the outcome this tim, so far as I can see.

    In response to Jack Sheldon, the YouGpv “megapoll” has this seat down as a likely Conservative win. In other words the Conservatives are clearly the probable winners, but don’t fall off your chair with astonishment if Labour has a surprise result. UKIP are out of it.

    By the way, what campaigning? I have had a leaflet through the door from Labour and there are a couple of window posters for Labour that I pass when I go round the corner to my local co-op. Otherwises, there might not be an election here.

  47. Craig Mackinlay has been charged over possible election offences before and during the 2015 General Election but is innocent until and if he is found guilty.

    Local people have long since gone on to think about other things. It won’t make much difference to the outcome this tim, so far as I can see.

    In response to Jack Sheldon, the YouGpv “megapoll” has this seat down as a likely Conservative win. In other words the Conservatives are clearly the probable winners, but don’t fall off your chair with astonishment if Labour has a surprise result. UKIP are out of it.

    By the way, what campaigning? I have had a leaflet through the door from Labour and there are a couple of window posters for Labour that I pass when I go round the corner to my local co-op. Otherwises, there might not be an election here.

  48. My apologies for all the typos! Particularly to Craig Mackinlay’s name. No offence made.

  49. This was a Labour constituency from 1997 to 2010.

    Even although it would normally now be beyond Labour’s reach the exceptional circumstances here could result in Raushan Ara winning.

  50. I want to distance the following comment clearly from the ones I have just made.

    I recollect in the past asking for a number of seats, for example in the Midlands, how many members various parties, and particularly the Conservatives, had in various seats including marginals: in some cases the numbers appeared to be considerably less than a hundred.

    Does anybody know how many members each of the parties have in Thanet?

    All the parties are clearly on therir best behaviour here to keep within electoral law this time. It occurs to me that if they are relying strictly on local members they may, with the possible exception of Labour actually have very few resources to do anything. UKIP used to have a good membership here; but I have the impression that having “won” the EU Referendum, and having found controlling a local council not as easy as they may have thought, they may not have the same enthusiasm as in 2015.

    The antics of local District Councillors over the years, particularly between 2011 and 2015, are unlikely to have encouraged participation in political parties in South Thanet.

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