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 - 1,977 Responses on “Thanet South”
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  1. Tim. Thanks for the correction.

    We might perhaps add that in many historic English counties the county town has not been the main centre of population e.g. Dorset, East Sussex, Lancashire, Staffordshire. Indeed, With the emergence of Unitary Authorities this is perhaps less true than it was.

    Indeed, whilst Maidstone has for many years been the county headquarters of Kent its importance to the County is debatable in realtion to the Medway twons and to Canterbury, which was historically a County Borough.

    We might also mentioned the gerrymandered English region of the South East. I believe its headquarters is Guildford but has anybody tried getting there from Ramsgate or elsewhere in East Kent? It is a lot more difficult than London. As an ancient English Kingdom Kent should at leat be a region on its own, Like Yorkshire.

    P.S. Good luck to Russ Timpson. Perhaps he will find seat for the General Election after next that is less hopeless for the LibDems.

  2. I think a lot of it depends on location

    Generally county towns tend to be in the centre of the county – with obvious exceptions like Chester

    Was Canterbury once the county town of Kent? Maidstone seems a bit too modern although it is nearer the centre of the county than Canterbury – which is a bit foo far into Kent

  3. Describing the South East as a gerrymandered region is idiotic. The only representatives it elects are by STV and given the number of representatives it elects, it produces extremely proportional results. It’s not a region with a great deal of coherence, but it’s hardly alone in that.

    And Kent is vastly smaller than Yorkshire and hasn’t been an independent kingdom since the late eighth century. That is not a good argument for making it into its own region. Even when it was a kingdom, it was often divided between several competing rulers or extended into parts of Surrey and Greater London.

  4. The SW ‘region’ is even less coherent I think. There is very little to connect eastern Gloucestershire and West Cornwall for example (although the BBC would have people from both speaking with the same unreal accent).

  5. Tim

    I don’t think Canterbury has ever been the County Town of Kent, although there was thought of it when the Kent County Council was set up in the 1880s. Canterbury has since the middle ages been a City with its own Charter. Until 1974 it was a County Borough independent of kent County Council (so why isn’t Canterbury alone, i.e. exclusing Whitstable and Herne Bay, a Unitary Authority now?).

    I don’t think Chester is alone in being at the edge of its County. Aylesbury, the County Town of Buckinghamshire, is another example. And neither Derby nor Leicester are anywhere near the centres of their counties, which is why they are so close to each other. Carlisle and Cumbria too, I think.

    In older times, there were other County Towns removed from the cnetre of their counties, such as Launceston for Cornwall and Lancaster (even remembering that Lancashire then included Furness).

    Is Kingston, in Greater London, still the administrative centre of Surrey? And of course Middlesex County Hall was in Parliament Square, where I think it is now the seat of the Supreme Court. And Mid Glamorgan County Hall, the original Glamorgan County Hall, was in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, from 1974 until the Welsh County Councils were abolished.

    I believe that in the early days of Kent County Council some committee meetings. in particular of the Education Committee, were held n London as being the most convenient place.

    Continuing in realtion to Kent, the people, and in particular freemen, of Kent, met at Penenden Heath, just outside Maidstone, from the middle ages, when they used to have assemblies there. In the eighteenth century hustings were set up on Penenden Heath when there had to be elections for shire MPs to represent Kent (elections tended to be avoided because they were so expensive). Pendenden Heath was also the place in Kent where public executions took place, until they were moved into Maidstone Prison in the nineteenth century. Although the last person from Canterbury to be executed ( a caretaker from Canterbury Technical College) was hung by Pierrepoint in Wandsworth Prison.,

  6. Frederic – Surrey County Council does indeed still meet in Kingston. It’s an expensive business moving the county town to Guildford, Woking or somewhere more central, even if it seems more sensible.

  7. The gerrymandering of the South East in relation to European elections is not a matter of the proportionality of elections within the constituency. The basic problem is the grossly excessive size of this constituency compared to others. In particular, the North-East and Yorkshire constituencies combined have fewer MEPs than the South East. This means that there are corresponding differences in the size of the quotas needed to return MEPs. As a result, all the large or medium sized parties return MPs here, with the consequence that electors have no effective choice in realtion to candidates chosen in party caucuses to head lists. There is a further issue in that parties focus on the candidate on the list, such as Nigel Farage for UKIP, for campaigning reasons. This accentuates the problem that few ordinary pople can name more than a couple of their MEPs at most. I couldn’t name all of them, and I suspect that many of the contributors to this site, who let’s face it are psephological “tekkies” could either.

    By contrast, in the North East even the third placed party has difficulty in getting an MEP elected, and minor parties like the Greens, or even UKIP, have no chance.

    I like having a Green MEP (although I think as a purely personal opinion that Caroline Lucas’ replacement Keith Taylor needs to try harder and present himself better), but all the same this situation is not right. It is a gerrymander in the core sense ot the term given that the word originated in the bizarre drawing of electoral boundaries in the United States after the Civil War, one area in particular being salamander shaped.

    By the way, I see that Daniel Hannan MEP has been tipped in the local paper as a possible Conservative candidate for Thanet South. Whether swapping a safe place on the MEP list for candidacy for a marginal Westminster seat is a wise move I personally doubt, but it is up to him. The “Isle of Thanet Gazette” has also tipped a lady called Jo Gibsone as a possible candidate for Thanet South, and also for the Conservative South East European list.

    We might comment that Labour’s activities in relation to the European Parliament have not been helpful to Thanet South or East Kent. In the days when there were individual Euroseats, it will recollect that Mark Watts unexpectedly got elected, and was very good for this area, particularly in relation to transport investment. However, when the elections changed to a list system Mark Watts got put second in the list to Peter Skinner, the MEP for Kent West. This meant that when Labour subsequently lost votes it was mark Watts who went. My own opinion is that Mark Watts was a more effective MEP than Skinner – this is a personal opinon and others may differ – although Skinner was perhaps the more effective wheeler-dealer within the party and internally at Strasbourg. I think few people in the South-East outside the Labour party have heard of Skinner. I understand he is now standing down, and that the two top candidates on their list next time (the only ones at all likely to be elected) both have links with the extreme North-West of the Euro consitutency, specifically Reading. I think this refelcts a perceived attitude here that Labour has at best limited understanding of Kent. Labour are going to have to address this, not just in relation to the European elections, if they are to come back from the 2010 situation when they did considerably worse in this and other Kentish seats than they did elsewhere in the nation.

    There are reasons beyond ancient history for making Kent a region on its own. Specifically, our interests, concerns and culture differ considerably from those of other parts of the South-East.

  8. I got a Conservative name wrong: I read the paper in front of me too fast. . My apologies. The “Gazette” actually mentions two local hopefuls, Jo Gideon and Julie Marson. It is Julie Marson whom they mention as being also an MEP hopeful.

  9. Barnaby, it is also a matter of communications links. I actually worked for Mid Glamorgan when it was based at Cathays Park in Cardiff. Finding a site in the valleys accessible from everywhere in Mid Glamorgan would have been virtually impossible, particularly given the lack of available land at the most obvious locations such as Pontypridd and Porth. It wouldn’t have been made any easier by personality politics given that the long-standing leader of the Council came from Ogmore in the extreme west of the county.

  10. If Dan Hannan wanted to be an MP he could have walked into any super safe candidacy on his patch – Tonbridge & Malling and Wealden both leap to mind, and he showed no interest whatsoever. The idea that he’ll stand in Thanet South is daft.

  11. “Surrey County Council does indeed still meet in Kingston. It’s an expensive business moving the county town to Guildford, Woking or somewhere more central, even if it seems more sensible.”

    They’ve only had 50 years to do it.

  12. H.Hemmelig. From what you say, I think Dan Hannan is being very sensible.

  13. I should add to my note about Kentish independence that justification for this may depend not upon the Ancient Kingdom but upon the separate settlement between the people of Kent and William the Bastard (not the Conqueror in relation to Kent) in 1066, as a result of which Kent is referred to as “Invicta.” Kent as a result raised its own land tax, the Gavelkind. This was abolished by Westminster in the last century, without so far as I know the consent of the people of Kent. Whilst I am not in favour of Gavelkind as an unfair land tax that bore disproportionately on ordinary people, there is an arguable case that Kent should have the right to collect its own tax and forward it to Westminster in return for services rendered to Kent. This would approximate to independence. This is a site for psephology so I am not stating here whether I think such a case would be right or wrong.

  14. I don’t see Kent as being anywhere near as distinct from the rest of England as the obvious example of Cornwall or even my own patch – given that we were for centuries not ruled directly by the English kings, but by the Prince Bishops of Durham.

  15. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315599/Nigel-Farages-son-Thomas-21-held-drinking-3am-arrest-London-street.html

    ‘Fair and balanced analysis’ on Nigel Farage

    I will leave others to form their own opinions.

    There is obviously a clear reason for why Sandys is standing down here (as there is for a lot of things if people think hard enough).

  16. Have UKIP declared how many candidates they will put up in 2015.

    Are they going to stand in every GB seat?

    I would be very doubtful about them standing in my constituency. I think I read that their tiny Scottish wing recently imploded.

    Thought I would post here as this seems to be a sort of target seat for them.

  17. UKIP intends to stand in every seat in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2015.

  18. What will UKIP do if Scotland votes for Independence? In terms of policy they will have won there, but I cannot see that Scottish voters will see any point in voting UKIP.

  19. I would assume that the UKIP section in Scotland will reformat itself as a separate party, under a new name, if it should become independent. Its aim then would be to present itself almost as a new conservative party, appealing in particular to right-wing voters who aren’t voting for the Conservatives, which is rather a toxic brand in Scotland.

    However, I doubt they would do particularly well. UKIP’s brand is evidently not great in Scotland atm anyway, and its internal problems in its Scottish section have been publicised. I expect they could well just fade away.

  20. ‘However, I doubt they would do particularly well. UKIP’s brand is evidently not great in Scotland atm anyway,’

    I don’t see UKIP doing well at all in Scotland as the SNP seem to have hoovered up the ex-Tory, Nationalist vote – which of course is very different from the in-your-face, right-wing, anti-liberal Nationalism that UKIP represent

  21. There’s a lot of opportunities for all parties to change their composition (and name) were Scotland to become independent.

    Dan Hannan v Farage for Thanet South would be quite something.

  22. Maybe Hannan would just fancy the fight. He will always get a nomination somewhere if he lost it.

  23. ‘If Dan Hannan wanted to be an MP he could have walked into any super safe candidacy on his patch – Tonbridge & Malling and Wealden both leap to mind’

    Not sure about Wealden – they have a history of selecting candidates from the sane wing of the Tory Party – Johnson Smith, Hendry

    I don’t think they would want a rabble rousing, hardline right-winger like Hannan – who would embarass them at every opportunity

  24. The issue is that Scottish independence would greatly improve Tory chances in England, and conversely make it very difficult for Labour to win in England. But in the long run parties tend to emerge or reposition themselves to fill a vacuum.

  25. Dry and sane aren’t quite opposites you know Tim. Not all of us on the right are Shaun Bennetites.

  26. I would certainly say that Hannon was one of our most able, impressive and likeable characters.

  27. Hannan would be an interesting choice. Don’t agree with everything he says, but he is a useful figure to have around IMO. Like Douglas Carswell (a Tory I have a great deal of time for) he clearly has conviction for what he believes in.

    Wealden is going to remain Tory quite decisively but I feel that the party’s majority will fall in 2015 as it did in Maidstone in 2010 when Helen Grant took over.

    South Thanet is likely to be an interesting three-way battle between the Tories, UKIP and Labour (who’ll struggle but will probably see some kind of increase in their vote in parts of the seat). If the Tories select a Eurosceptic like Hannan, it’ll certainly make this one an intriguing contest. Do wish Labour still had some prominent Eurosceptics in their ranks though, aside from the very left of the party.

  28. ‘Do wish Labour still had some prominent Eurosceptics in their ranks though, aside from the very left of the party.’

    They do – Kate Hoey, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart are all staunch Euroskeptics and they are on the far-right of the Labour Party

  29. True, but they’re still out of the Labour mainstream. Gisela Stuart started out (I think) as broadly pro-European but has moved to a very different view in recent years. Hoey and Field have always generally held views that are anti-EU.

    Where are the New Labour or post-New Labour MPs who are willing to question the EU?

  30. Kate Hoey is imho on the left of the labour party, just very socially conservative. Frank Field is simply in the wrong party.

  31. Frank Field is in the right party. Once upon a time Labour were full of people with no nonsense views like Franks who would never dream of voting Tory. Obviously this is not the case now making Frank look rather odd.

  32. ‘Frank Field is in the right party. Once upon a time Labour were full of people with no nonsense views like Franks who would never dream of voting Tory. Obviously this is not the case now making Frank look rather odd.’

    I think that’s true

    Whilst I never understood why Field was at one time described as being on the Left of the party, his is without doubt a Labour man – just very different from today’s Labour right-wingers – who are generally metropolitan, middle class, socially liberal, almost without exception pro-European, as Neil points out, and, if truth be told, very corruptable

    Kate Hoey is without a doubt on the Right of her party – being a keen supporter of fox hunting, a huge fan of Sky TV and more anti-cyclist than many Tories

  33. A right winger who signed up as a Marxist and voted for McDonnell and Abbott?

    Being Eurosceptic and socially conservative may correlate with being right wing, but it certainly doesn’t make you right wing.

  34. Frank Field’s always struck me as an odd one – so many of the ‘right’ of the party (like Denis Healey and Roy Hattersley) ended up to the left of it, while Frank’s still on the right of it – either he’s seriously right wing or shifted with the times in the 90s and kept on going.

  35. Tim – Frank Field was a member of the Tribune Group at a time when it still tended to denote that you were a left-winger.
    I was unaware that Hoey had voted for or supported either Abbott or McDonnell. Are you sure about that, Joe?

  36. http://www.labour.org.uk/leadership-mps-and-meps

    Wikipedia says Kate Hoey initially nominated McDonnell but then switched to Abbott.

    The votes from MPs and MEPs on the Labour page indicates that she gave Burnham her first preference vote.

  37. Barnaby – a quick question if I may (you seem the best person to answer it). I have been reading Chris Mullin’s diary, and he mentions being a member of the campaign group but backing blair – was he widely thought of as a Blarite convert or a socialist who let his vote for pragmatic reasons?

  38. Neil,

    Just looked at that list and noticed that while the other three candidates only voted for themselves, the Milibands both second preferenced one another. Rather touching.

  39. Chris Mullin was always seen as a left-leaning Labour MP – but a very competent one who had much support within the party and could run a governmemt department

  40. Without having a comments section on the Polling Intentions page, I guess I have to comment here, South Thanet.. the “all-purpose” UKIP seat…

    Two observations.. the chart showing the ratings at the top does not include UKIP which is rather a piece of denial..

    Secondly how come one poll of mid-Jan shows the UKIP at 19% and that of the 26th (different pollster) shows 8%. There are margins of error and then there are poorly conducted polls. An 11% difference in 10 days smacks of poor methodology.. We might just say “Oh, those UKIPPERS are hard to measure”… but the 19% rating implies that that level of support was taken out of one of the other parties.. are the other parties that hard to measure too..?.

    To put it bluntly a poll with 1200 participants (a very good sample) only provides less than two opinions per constituency and quite conceivably, there are no opinions for scores of constituencies.. If one thing is clear from the many thread comments on many seats in here, dispersal of voting intentions between different places might be at one of its highest levels in decades. The Tories have supposedly doomed forever in Scotland, the Libdems are supposedly dead in Manchester and Liverpool. Labour can’t get off its back in the south …UKIP are rampaging along the coasts.. and yet “national” polls are somehow accurate..

  41. Antiochian – it’s called statistics. There may be wildly different things going on in different places, and a considerable number of your interviewees in any survey will be ignorant or apathetic or fruitcakes of one sort or another, but it all balances out. You need to read Anthony’s main section on this website.

    What is true though is that you can’t necessarily read a local conclusion from a national survey – that’s why this section of the website exists.

  42. I do know about statistics.. thanks… the difference between 8% support and 11% is more than the margin of error one might expect.. methodology might indeed be outdated here..

  43. Anthony has discussed extensively on the main website the differences in methodology of the polling companies in relation to UKIP, and why this gives different results. If you know about surveys you will know that results are very sensitive to both the exact wording of a question and the context in which it is asked.

    Survey “results” are therefore used extensively as marketing and campaigning tools while being wholly worthless. The polling companies try very hard to get as accurate results as possible, but there is still disagreement as to the best way of doing this. The only proof is in the actual voting.

  44. Just seen your question Joe. I think we’d have to say that Mullin was never a fully-fledged Blairite, though his voting record in leadership elections isn’t all that left-wing. Clearly he voted Blair to make sure of putting Labour into office. He was rewarded for this by ministerial office, but not overly so, since no doubt Blair realised he remained well to the left of most ministers. Some other Campaign Groupies (good examples are Austin Mitchell, Mike Connarty & even Ian Lavery) have given their leadership votes to candidates other than those of the Left – and Dennis Skinner appears to have switched from Abbott to David Miliband, on the grounds that he would be a more effective hammer of the Tories than the other candidates.

  45. “and Dennis Skinner appears to have switched from Abbott to David Miliband, on the grounds that he would be a more effective hammer of the Tories than the other candidates.”

    Dennis Skinner has always been like that. He said that he got on better with Tony Blair than with any Labour leader since Michael Foot. Blair often quietly consulted Skinner to get a genuine working class opinion about various issues and policies – as opposed to getting a faux working class opinion from his deputy John Prescott.

  46. To be fair, one year when Labour MPs voted Dennis Skinner off the NEC, Blair let it be known that he regretted this, and would favour Skinner’s return. Indeed the next year Skinner was voted back on to the NEC. However, although personal relations between Skinner & Blair were quite good, Blair was very scathing about Skinner in an interview I’ve heard describing a rally in his Sedgefield constituency shortly after he was elected in 1983. To give Blair further unwonted credit he does a very accurate impersonation of Skinner in that interview.

  47. According to the “Gazette” the Greens are calling to abolish Kent County Council and set up six unitary counsils each consisting of two of the current District Councils. This is supported in the paper by Tan Driver, who is apparently the Green’s proadpective candidate for Thanet South.

    Is this idea really a vote winner? I cannot see Thanet being particiularly interested in what goes on in Dover, or vice versa. There are even worse pairing, notably Sheppey and Canterbury. Canterbury would regard sharing a local authority with Sheerness as crzay, and I suspect vice versa. There is already a problem in that following the closure of Canterbury Prison (now bought Cy Canterbury Christ Church University, incidentally, people from East Kent remaded or sentenced for minor offences are shunted off to a remote corner of Sheepey. This is to my mind dubious in terms of Human Rights. Would the Greens have similar distancing from the grass roots across the board?

    A better green approach, more original and therefore more likely to win votes, might by to have devolution to Kent as an ancient kingdom, comparable to say Wales or Cornwall. Kent could then set up local arrangemtns to meet its own environmental and other needs. For instance, there could be specific arrangements for use of the ancient forest of Blean, and there could be arrangements to enrouage (and tax) the Cinque Ports as trading towns. The Gavelkind could be re-organised to becaome an effective land tax.

    At least the Grrens seem to be doing something, although I suspect that they are going to be horribly squeezed in this seat.

  48. Thanet’s latest problem is that KLM have ceased to operate flights from Manston to Schipol. And they have problems coming up with new initiatives because the Council (I think under Labour) sold the airport to Mrs. Gloag, of Stagecoach, for a nominal £1 and she is going to want millions of punds to sell it.

    This seems like a rerun of the ferries debacle when Thanet (I think then under the Conservatives) failed, unlike Ostend, to get its loan to the company secured on the ferry ships.

    With a Council like this when it comes to major initiatives, is it any wonder that many local people transfer their allegiance to UKIP?

    Labour, using local council initiatives, and the Conservatives, using Central Government ones, need to do something to make sure that there are replacement air services to Manston in time for the next election, preferably to several destinations. But as KLM is not the first airline to pull out of Manston, they will have their work cut out.

  49. Why can’t people just use Gatwick?

  50. I visited Manston recently. It was totally deserted, although it was about 9pm on a Sunday. Still a bit surprised.

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