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. Despite today’s events regarding Craig Mackinlay, I can’t envisage Labour ever winning this seat again. Thanet South’s a typical Kent white flight seat plus, it voted heavily (64%) for Brexit so a foreign-born Asian Muslim candidate (Raushan Ara) won’t win here for Labour.

    The only chance of Labour winning this seat again is if they select a Brendan Chilton-type candidate (Chilton’s a white, working class Labour councillor in Ashford, Kent) but even then it’ll be very diffcult for them to regain.

    Craig Mackinlay will win here easily next week.

  2. Indeed, my thoughts too plus many have already voted by post.

    It may just stop UKIP collapsing (although Tim Aker will still probably be their best % in a seat). Plus CMc is their ex-leader which always made it more difficult for UKIP to attack him on anything as presumably it means they don’t vett people.

  3. An update to my recent post. I have had a small Craig Mackinlay leaflet, about two inches square, through my door today. It looks like somebody tried to canvass me but didn’t find me in.

  4. In response to Christian, I don’t think people will vote against the Labour Party candidate because of her ethnic background. She has lived in the area for many years and runs a local business (an Indian takeaway)which she could use to raise her profile. If she was a shrewd politician she could have bult a local presence that people would respect. However, the recent Council elections suggest that she may not be the best in the world at doing this.

  5. Ladbrokes’ odds here:

    Cons 1/3

    Lab 3/1

    UKIP 8/1

  6. I understand Farage is putting in an appearanceā€‹ here (Thanet) tomorrow.

  7. Just to add to the list, I have now also had a UKIP leaflet. We have had remarkably little discussion about the UKIP candidate, the Rev. Stuart Piper,, a biking baptist minister who lives in Thanet. Apparently he was chaplain of the Pilgrim’s Trust, a hospice organisation which is highly regardded in this part of the world.

    I wouldn’t disagree with the Ladbrooke;s odds that Lancs Observer has relayed. I think that they are rather kindly towards UKIP.

  8. Craig MacKinlay was in court today.

    It would be a fascinating by-election…

  9. Another UKIP councillor defects according to the BBC

  10. to Independent or to Conservative, Matt?

  11. Apparently she defected to independents defected back to ukip after the leader of the independent group was disgraced now defected to conservatives

  12. And people wonder why voters have so little faith in their elected representatives…

  13. Is ukip the first party to lose their majority twice in one sitting?

  14. I think the Lib Dems should be watched if there’s a by-election here.
    I wasn’t completely up to date with the potential because I was calling out desperately for paper for ages
    and people kept giggling and leaving me there
    but there are lots of Tory and Labour votes that could turn Lib Dem here.

  15. Yes the area certainly has the demographic which is strongest for them šŸ™‚

  16. Barnaby dont humour Gloy

  17. It’s OK, I know him in real life…….

  18. Ah yes, Thanet South. That well known bastion of liberal thinking.

  19. Gloy Plopwell cuts a rather sad figure these days.

    His heyday was 10 years ago when the Lib Dems had more than 60 seats and really did have a chance of coming from nowhere to win the Little Piddle by-election with a 30% swing.

    Joe’s creation of the character reflects a fear and loathing of the Lib Dem threat in those days which has simply vanished now the Libs are eking out an existence in a dozen seats and aren’t really a credible threat to anyone. I’d suggest it’s a good time for Gloy to retire.

  20. They even failed to pick up piddle valley this year

  21. Having only been here since just before the 2015 election, I had no idea that Gloy had been around for so long.

    I always assumed he had been created to satirise the Lib Dems’ fingers-in-their-ears denial of their own imminent demolition.

  22. On the archived site you’ll see Gloy in all his glory, probably the height of his posting was the Cleggasm when it really did seem like the Lib Dems could win 200 seats.

  23. I was happy for Clegg to have his moment of national hysteria…a Princess Diana moment, if you will. It made this smug, silly little mans downfall all the more sweet.

  24. ‘It made this smug, silly little mans downfall all the more sweet.’

    For somebody who’s struck me as a fairly consistent(ish) liberal, I’m surprised you’re so damning of Clegg Tristan

    I find the flack Clegg gets – equally from both Left and Right – pretty hard to get my head round. He enabled the Right to govern and in doing so was able to pass some (albeit not much) progressive legislation that would never have otherwise seen the light of the day with an all out Tory administation

    He didn’t exactly do himself many favours in his often cringe-worthy performance in the EU debate with Nigel Farage, but he stood out as the only politician willing to take Nigel Farage on, whereas most of Parliament seemed either absolutely terrified or in awe of the UKIP leader

    For me Clegg’s defeat was the low point of the most enjoyable election since 97

  25. You’re right Tim- I’m ok with his politics, generally speaking. It’s just I’ve always found him spectacularly pleased with himself, and the reaction in 2010 after a few decent- albeit not fantastic- performances in debates was far too much. On the other hand, and despite many misteps, the 2010-15 government was a competent one in many ways.

  26. Missteps.

  27. If I’m not much mistaken, prior to the 2010 debates, the Lib Dems had been flat-lining in the higher teens ever since the likeable Charles Kennedy was forced out not long after the 2005 election

    Clegg got the job and whilst he kept the Lib Dems relevant and stopped them declining to anywhere near the level they are now at, it did look as if they were in serious danger of losing a large chunk of their seats to a resurgent Tory Party

    The debates catipulted him and his party into what looked like a tight, three-way race but between then and election day it all went wrong for the Lib Dems and whilst they manaqed to increase their share of the popular vote, they actually went down in seats (losing seats that in 2005 had looked safe – Harrogate, Monmouth, Newton Abbott – not withstanding minor boundary changes)

    It seems to have been written out of the history books that in the immediate aftermath to the 2010 election the Lib Dems weren’t gleefully preparing for government but scratching their heads trying to work out how and where it all went so wrong

  28. I think you kind of hit the nail of the head Tim the Lib Dems doubled their seat tally at first at the expense of the Tories in 1997 then Labour in 2005. However, by 2010 the Tories looked to be walking into downing st. off the back of Labour and the the Lib Dems. However, both parties recovered their fortunes and while losts seats they were able to deny the tories of a majority.

  29. Have you only been here since 2015? I thought you were here before me

  30. Tim’s right – people forget than before the leadership debate the Lib Dems were in a pretty perilous position

    The way they knifed Kennedy in the back certainly turned me off them at the time (and I’m sure many others) as i found myself won over by Cameron and his attempted rebranding of the Tories. Clegg’s performances in the debates made me think again but in the end i concluded that the Tories were the only party that

  31. Continued…could defeat Labour so went with them when it ended in a coalition it semed like the best of both worlds

  32. ‘Have you only been here since 2015? I thought you were here before me’

    Assuming you’re referring to me I started posting here in 2006/07 when the site was dominated by the likes of Pete Whitehead (one of the most right-wing and knowledgeable posters re: constituency information the site’s ever had), Shaun Bennett (a Jon Gaunt type figure), various Joe’s, Barnaby, H Hemmelig, Andy, Mersey Mike and a handful of Lib Dems whose names escape me as they’ve all since left

  33. Awh i knew Pete not that well hed probably not know me

  34. The Lib Dems have probably migrated to Vote UK – there’s loads of them on there. Very few of them use their real names though so hard to tell if they’re been on here before. Probably some have.
    I’d like to compliment those who use their real names here like Tim though I understand why some prefer not to do so.

  35. Incidentally Pete Whitehead became a regular on VoteUK but he seems to have stopped contributing. I wonder if he’s still UKIP or has been tempted back to the Tories. The other main UKIP contributor on the site has.

  36. I miss Pete on here, the site is much the worse for his absence.

    I like to think (hope) that he doesn’t feel at home any more in a UKIP that has fast morphed into a BNP tribute act. Though I also doubt that as a libertarian he will have much time for the clunky authoritarian big state May.

  37. He did strike me as being towards the more rightist strains within UKIP at times

  38. He stood for ukip in recent council elections

  39. Hopefully he’ll come on here and say hi for himself.

    But it would be a big stretch for a libertarian to be happy in a party whose most prominent policy is banning burkhas.

  40. ‘But it would be a big stretch for a libertarian to be happy in a party whose most prominent policy is banning burkhas’

    Currently there’s no political party for the ever-increasing number of people who identify themselves as libertarians at the moment

    UKIP has switched from its libertarian roots to being an all-out authoritarian party, and Theresa May’s fondness for Big government – one of the only things I like about her – means the Conservatives have shifted away from this position too

  41. As a libertarian there is never going to be that perfect party but youve got to find the one who is closest to you

  42. Tim
    “for the ever-increasing number of people who identify themselves as libertarians at the moment”

    Your not wrong that more people are identifying as “libertarians” these days but from what I can tell its just a way for younger right wingers to dress up their political beliefs cos calling yourself a “Conservative” under the age of 40 is quite possibly the most embarrassing thing you could do. In reality those claiming to be Libertarians encompass everything from actual Libertarians to plain old Tories to “alt right” crypto fascists.

  43. ‘from what I can tell its just a way for younger right wingers to dress up their political beliefs cos calling yourself a ā€œConservativeā€ under the age of 40 is quite possibly the most embarrassing thing you could do. In reality’

    But conservatism and libertarianism are two very distinct and often contradictory political creeds

  44. “But conservatism and libertarianism are two very distinct and often contradictory political creeds”

    But they’re bundled together under the broad church of the Conservative Party, just as socialists and Fabians coexist within Labour.

    Blame FPTP for forcing these anti-democratic marriages of convenience.

  45. Exactly. If we had PR, then you definitely wouldn’t be seeing the likes of Soubry or Morgan sharing the same party as the likes of Johnson and Davis. Or the likes of McDonnell and Abbott sharing the same party as Umunna or Kendall.

  46. Problem with labour is the brand most factions in the labour party believe the party belongs to them and wont give it up

  47. UKIP LEADERSHIP
    WHITTLE is favourite at 4/6 (60%). The controversial WATERS is second favourite at around 20%. There is speculation that there has been some significant numbers signing up for membership in order to vote for her. I can’t personally can’t see WHITTLE being popular enough to win*, so I would therefore be not at all surprised if WATERS won, which imo will quickly lead to the final nail being inserted into UKIP’s coffin.

    *I think the contest is a straight most votes win.

  48. In Waters, UKIP have managed to conjure up someone even more repellant than Nuttall. That’s a special kind of talent. The party is now a total irrelevance…even the Greens at least have one MP (and quite an impressive one at that).

  49. You have to feel somewhat sorry for UKIP’s founder Alan Sked, a liberally-oriented man who just didn’t like the EU very much (and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so!) He never envisioned a party of race hatred and ethnic nationalism. I know that no single person ever has ownership of a political party, but even so he must feel immense shame that his creation has been so badly misused.

    He hated Nigel Farage. God knows what he thinks of AMW…

  50. There’s not much coverage in all media on this contest which is scheduled to finish on 29th of September.

    Henry Bolton is an interesting candidate. An ex soldier, he has an O.B.E in cross border security. He has been backed a little in the betting:

    WHITTLE 2.2 (54% probability)…betfair
    WATERS 2.9 (32% probability)
    BOLTON 8/1. …high St bookies
    KURTEN 10/1
    12/1 BAR

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