Craig Mackinlay

Credentials

Background

Craig Mackinlay has been the Conservative MP for South Thanet since 2015, when he narrowly defeated his former colleague Nigel Farage.5MPs and Lords; South Thanet – 2015 General Election,” UK Parliament. Archived December 7, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/IRlrg

Mackinlay was one of the founders of the Anti-Federalist Party, which later became the UK Independence Party (UKIP), serving as the leader of UKIP in 1997 and as deputy leader from 1997 to 2000. Macklinay joined the Conservative Party in 2005.6About Craig,” Craig Mackinlay MP. Archived October 28, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mwXNl 7Ex-UKIP leader to stand as Tory MP for Thanet South,” BBC News. Archived January 21, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zgHjQ 

Mackinlay has become a leading critic of the government’s plans to decarbonise the economy and reach net zero emissions by 2050. Macklinay leads the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, a loose alliance of MPs which was set up by Tory MP and Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) Trustee Steve Baker.8Anushka Asthana. “Tory backbenchers prepare to fight cost of net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” itv News, July 31, 2021. Archived September 17, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9Y2rQ 9Isabel Hardman. “Green issues expose Tory division and loner Boris Johnson’s distance from his party,” The Guardian, August 15, 2021. Archived December 7, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/f6wIn 

Mackinlay has indicated that the Net Zero Scrutiny Group will use publications from the GWPF to inform its discussions.10Jess Shankleman and Alex Morales. “Boris Johnson’s Ambition for Climate Deal Hit by Tory Party Infighting,” Bloomberg, August 5, 2021. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gyeWY 

Since 2020, Mackinlay has chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and Hauliers, whose registered contact is listed as Howard Cox, the founder of motoring lobby group Fair Fuel UK. Fair Fuel UK is a vocal opponent of fuel duty increases, the government’s 2030 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles, and emissions charging schemes designed to cut air pollution.11Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 16 December 2020]: Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and UK Hauliers,” UK Parliament. Archived November 1, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ydJrx 

According to his website, Mackinlay was a founding member of Conservatives for Britain, a campaign organisation formed just after the General Election of 2015 to lobby for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. During the 2016 EU referendum, Mackinlay campaigned for Brexit and was a member of the Exiting the EU Select Committee in the 2015-2017 and 2017-2019 Parliaments. In the 2015-2017 Parliament, he was also a member of the European Scrutiny Select Committee and the Work and Pensions Select Committee.12About Craig,” Craig Mackinlay MP. Archived October 28, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mwXNl 

According to his website, Mackinlay wants Manston Airport in his South Thanet constituency to become a “freight hub with passenger & high value engineering services”.13My plan for South Thanet,” Craig Mackinlay MP. Archived November 4, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/S47qm In 2019, Mackinlay was found to have breached House of Commons rules due to a potential financial interest by calling for the unused Manston airport to be “resurrected” during Commons debates. Mackinlay had failed to declare his role as a director of Mama Airlines Ltd, founded in 2001, which Mackinlay had founded with the intention of running a “low-cost” airline from Manston to Malaga.14Tom Barnes. “Tory MP breaches Commons rules by calling to reopen airport from which he had wanted to run his own airline,” The Independent, June 17, 2018. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yW850

In 2012, Mackinlay stood as the Conservative candidate for office of Kent Police and Crime Commissioner. He was defeated by the former Kent Police Authority chair Ann Barnes.15Result,” KentParo. Archived December 30, 2012.

Before beginning his political career, Mackinlay worked at a firm of chartered accountants and qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He also qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.16About Craig,” Craig Mackinlay MP. Archived October 28, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mwXNl

According to Mackinlay’s LinkedIn, he is still in practice as a partner in a Kent firm of chartered accountants, Beak Kemmenoe Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers.17Craig Mackinlay,” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/2Bufn

Stance on Climate Change

August 6, 2021

In an article by The Times about alleged tensions within the UK Cabinet on climate policy, Mackinlay was quoted saying:

“I am not a climate-change denier. I’m concerned that our electors of the future will be huddling round their heat-pump radiators and paying off the debt on an electric vehicle they never wanted either as they look wistfully at China, Indonesia and other nations still enjoying cheap energy from some of the dirtiest fossil fuels.”18Steven Swinford, Oliver Wright, Matt Dathan. “Cabinet tensions heat up the road to Cop26,” The Times, August 14, 2021. Archived August 14, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gGOJM

Key Quotes

October 23, 2021

Speaking on GB News during a segment titled “The cost of net zero”, Macklinay claimed that achieving net zero emissions is “very, very expensive.” Mackinlay also said that plans to move to net zero are “all reliant on electricity,” and that the UK had “bungled policy for power for probably a whole generation”.19Tory MP Crash Mackinlay on ‘bungled’ Net Zero ambitions,” YouTube video uploaded by user GBNews, October 23, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

He also spoke about air source heat pumps, saying they were about four times the price of a “nice, reliable gas boiler” and that despite installing a heat pump, consumers could “find [themselves] saddled with higher bills”. He also claimed that households would have to pay more than £30,000 for the transition to net zero. 

Mackinlay also said: “Of course I want a greener future, of course I do. I want to leave this planet in a better place than we found it,” and stated that COP26 should focus on reducing single use plastic, protecting ocean biodiversity, and planting forests.

September 20, 2021

In a piece from the Mail Online about the UK’s energy shortage, Mackinlay was quoted saying: “The transition to Net Zero is going to be over a long period of time. Fossil fuels will be part of the mix for a long period of time. So it makes sense to be as domestically secure as we possibly can.”20James Tapsfield, David Wilcock. “No10 dismisses pleas from Tory MPs and energy firms to scrap ‘green levies’ that can make up a QUARTER of household bills to avoid gas crisis triggering wave of ‘fuel poverty’ this winter,” MailOnline, September 20, 2021. Archived October 31, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hJDut

Key Actions

November 17, 2021

Craig Mackinlay spoke to NTD UK News about the recent launch of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, which would push for more critical discussion on government policies to reach net zero carbon emissions. When asked how many were involved in the group, he said it was “sort of growing north of 50 and growing by the day”.21NTD UK News Full Broadcast,” NTD UK News, November 17, 2021. Archived December 6, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/o35b2

He told the channel: “It’s quite surprising about how many MPs that I wouldn’t have considered particularly interested in these things are now tapping me on the shoulder and saying, you know what, we need to have a decent discussion on this within the party, because this is not electorally good for us.”

Mackinlay also said: “We shouldn’t be demonising gas. Gas is a far more efficient way, much smaller CO2 footprint to create energy than coal.”

The following day, a clip of the video was posted by Net Zero Watch, the new name for the Global Warming Policy Forum, campaigning wing of the UK’s most prominent climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.22‘”It’s surprising how many MPs are now tapping me on the shoulder to say, we’ve got to have a decent discussion about [Net Zero] within the party. It’s not electorally good for us. Economically, it’s a disaster zone. We should be looking at another way” @cmackinlay #CostOfNetZero,’ Tweet by @NetZeroWatch, November 18, 2021. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog. 

October 23, 2021

Mackinlay was quoted in a Telegraph article questioning the net zero pathway laid out by the Climate Change Committee (CCC), specifically that the CCC’s target “relies on a rise in windy days,” as saying: “These predictions appear somewhat fanciful. The Climate Change Committee seem to be looking at the whole project through rose-tinted spectacles to try and minimalise the unpalatable costs of this whole enterprise.”23Edward Malnick. “Net Zero target relies on rise in windy days,” The Telegraph, October 23, 2021. Archived October 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/YSthy

The data underlying the report was obtained through a tribunal case brought by Andrew Montford, deputy director of the GWPF, after the climate sceptic group had argued that the CCC had not been transparent about its calculations for the cost of the net zero transition.24David Rose. “Tell us the true cost of saving the planet: Judge orders quango to back up claim of ‘only’ 1% of GDP to hit net zero,The Daily Mail, August 6, 2021. Archived August 6, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/dWg1Y The analysis reported on in the article was conducted by the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), which recently claimed that the “quality of the CCC”s advice is questionable”.25Victoria Hewson. “Hot Air: A Critique of the UK’s Climate Change Committee,” Institute of Economic Affairs, October 2021. Archived October 24, 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

October 20, 2021

Mackinlay told LBC’s Iain Dale that the cost of the net zero transition, specifically retrofitting households to be more energy efficient, is “truly colossal” and that it will cost “over £30,000 per household”.26Seán Hickey. “Tory MP: Government’s net zero plan ‘the stuff of madness’”, LBC, October 19, 2021. Archived October 25, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/me4p5

October 19, 2021

Mackinlay was quoted in a Daily Mail article stating that “Boris’s £1TRILLION green dream” will have a negative financial impact on Britons, describing the government’s net zero plans as a “largely uncosted wish list”, adding that he was “most uncomfortable for the lower paid who will bear the cost of much of this greenwash in higher bills and taxes whilst the wealthier will bank their contribution towards their five figure heat pump.”27Jason Groves, Claire Ellicott, James Tapsfield. “How Boris’s £1TRILLION green dream could hit YOU: Britons face MORE taxes, a 50% hike on their heating bills, paying £10k or more for a heat pump, up to £9k a wall for insulation – and owners of inefficient homes may struggle to get a mortgage”, The Daily Mail, October 20, 2021. Archived November 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1SVyf

Mackinlay also said that the UK is “on a path to bankruptcy with multi-trillion pound dreams” as “big global emitters of CO2 pay lip service to net zero”.  

September 10, 2021

Mackinlay wrote an article for The Critic titled “Did the PM tell the truth about Net Zero?”, published after Mackinlay asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the cost of the government’s proposed pathway to net zero emissions. In it, he wrote that the UK’s decarbonisation policies must be “both affordable and technologically feasible” and claimed that “renewable energy in Britain has not, as the Prime Minister suggests, been getting cheaper”, adding that “audited accounts show clearly that offshore wind capital costs remain high and that their operation and maintenance costs are rising rapidly”.28Craig Mackinlay. “Did the PM tell the truth about Net Zero?,” The Critic, September 10, 2021. Archived November 6, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HATVw 

Mackinlay added that “Government cost estimates are invariably based on the predictions of the industries concerned”, and that checking the wind and solar industries’ predictions “against the reality of audited accounts” makes their claims about the efficiency of wind and solar appear “misleading”.  

September 2021

Mackinlay wrote an article for The Critic titled “What will Net Zero cost?” in which he argued that the transition to net zero emissions is “the British state’s biggest undertaking for a generation and a strange throwback to the command and control regimes of old”.29Craig Mackinlay. “What will Net Zero cost?The Critic, August/September 2021. Archived November 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ek962 

Macklinay added: “Every gas boiler will need to be replaced, the freedoms, flexibility and affordability offered by petrol and diesel vehicles will have to be denied, and most industrial processes reimagined.”

Mackinlay also wrote that it had not been determined who would pay for the transition, and that the Climate Change Committee’s cost estimate for the transition meant “households are each facing a £50,000 bill for over the next 30 years”.

September 8, 2021

In a parliamentary debate, Mackinlay asked the Prime Minister for an answer to “constituents I have of the future” who will have to “sit around a tepid radiator powered by an inefficient and expensive air source heating unit, worrying about the payments on the electric car that they didn’t want either, while they watch the growing economies of the world going hell-for-leather building new gas and coal power stations”.30“Craig Mackinlay MP describes his constituents of the future “sitting around a tepid radiator” powered by an expensive air source heat pump. @cmackinlay Could this be your future under Net Zero?⚠️#CostOfNetZero”, tweet from user @NetZeroWatch. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived October 27, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/2nbhX 

Mackinlay asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “please commit to solutions that are technologically possible to reduce Britain’s CO2” rather than “uncosted commitments”. The clip was later shared by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, since rebranded as Net Zero Watch, on Twitter. 

August 19, 2021

In an interview for Kent Online, Mackinlay voiced his opposition to wider adoption of electric vehicles, claiming that Britons “are being skewered down the route of just battery vehicles” and that “there are a lot of hidden costs to the planet here, not least because of the rare metals involved, which are usually produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, involving unspeakable human misery”.31Paul Francis. “South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay to lead backbench group scrutinising government over climate change decisions,” Kent Online, August 19, 2021. Archived November 2, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Cxpns

August 16, 2021

In a personal update posted to his website, Mackinlay wrote about Parliament returning: “How can we steer the government away from potential unfolding disaster in its unrealistic Net Zero plans? Lots of challenges on the horizon and you can be sure I will be in the thick of it.”32Craig Mackinlay. “My Regular Update: August 16, 2021,” Craig Mackinlay MP, August 16, 2021. Archived December 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/QFFsg 

July 29, 2021

Mackinlay announced on his website that his constituency had received more than £6.5 million for flood protection from the government, meaning that “913 more homes and businesses in Thanet are to be better protected from flooding and coastal erosion by 2026-2027”.33Craig Mackinlay. “Thanet To Receive Over £6.5m For Flood Protection,” Craig Mackinlay MP, July 29, 2021. Archived December 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bNRho Although the government’s press release for the scheme explicitly noted it was meant to increase the area’s “climate resilience”, Bob Ward, policy and communications director for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, pointed out that Macklinay did not acknowledge that the funding was allocated to address the effects of climate change.34South East flood protection receives record government investment,” GOV.UK, July 29, 2021. Archived July 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1vIX5 35Bob Ward, “Misinformation and propaganda campaign on net zero,” September 10, 2021. Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Archived October 23, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/U2cr2 

July 16, 2021

Mackinlay wrote an article for Conservative Home titled “The Government is fooling itself if it thinks it can go down the Net Zero path without electoral damage”, in which he called the government’s current path to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 “muddled, costly and impractical” and said that “the poor will suffer from these elite delusions”. He also said that there is no answer to the question of “who pays” for the net zero transition, and raised concerns about a “radical transformation of every part of the economy”.36Craig Mackinlay. “Craig Mackinlay: The Government is fooling itself if it thinks it can go down the Net Zero path without electoral damage,” Conservative Home, July 16, 2021. Archived November 11, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/flhIm 

Mackinlay also criticised the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and its £1.4 trillion cost estimate for the transition to net zero, saying the body “i​​s supposed to provide rigorous, independent advice to parliament” but “always recommends further and faster”.

He added: “The CCC is a significant player in the political debate around Net Zero, often explicitly directing Government policy, while being totally unelected and unaccountable. Mainstream media regurgitates its words sagely with little space offered to those who question its assumptions.” 

November 25, 2020

After noting his new role as the chairman of the APPG for Fair Fuel for Motorists and Hauliers, Mackinlay wrote in a local Thanet column that the government’s 2030 diesel and petrol car ban meant “any beneficial technological improvements to the diesel and petrol engine which has advanced rapidly with cleaner burning, more efficient engines, now comes to a grinding halt forever”. Mackinlay added: “​​The anti-motorist battle continues as I speak out against new ill-conceived cycle lanes carved out from already congested and insufficient road space. I’m all for new dedicated space for cycling and walking but not at the expense of other road users.”37Craig Mackinlay. “Craig Mackinlay: Thanet column for week ending November 27,” InYourArea, November 25, 2020. Archived January 18, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Vj0FE

In the same column, Mackinaly wrote that while “we all want cleaner air”, hydrogen technology is “more sensible” than electric vehicles (EVs) and that EV batteries and the necessary “upgraded electricity infrastructure” must be factored into the carbon cost of switching to electric vehicles. 

June 17, 2018

Mackinlay was found to have breached House of Commons rules due to a potential financial interest by calling for the unused Manston airport in his constituency of South Thanet to be “resurrected” during Commons debates. Mackinlay had failed to declare his role as a director of Mama Airlines Ltd, which he had founded in 2000 with the intention of running a “low-cost” airline from Manston to Malaga.38Tom Barnes. “Tory MP breaches Commons rules by calling to reopen airport from which he had wanted to run his own airline,” The Independent, June 17, 2018. Archived November 9, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yW850 

In a statement, Mackinlay said: “The company has never traded, has never even had a bank account, and I have never derived any remuneration or benefit from it.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think, through any common sense interpretation of the rules, that a dormant company, a mere incorporation of an idea some 17 years old would require registration.

“I will continue to speak up for an aviation future for Manston as much as I am able, not least as, despite the passage of time, it is an industry that I understand and have, albeit historic, knowledge of.”

Affiliations

  • Conservative Party — Member of Parliament.
  • Fair Fuel UK — Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and Hauliers.
  • UK Independence Party — Former leader and deputy leader.

Social Media

Publications

Resources

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