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UK Politics

Ex-Ukip leader Craig Mackinlay set to stand as Conservative MP for Thanet South

Thanet South was believed to be one of the constituencies Ukip leader Nigel Farage could have contested in next year's general election

An ex-Ukip leader has been selected to stand as the Conservative candidate for the Kent constituency of Thanet South in next year’s general election.

Craig Mackinlay has been chosen by the Conservative Party to replace Laura Sandys as the candidate for the election set to take place in May 2015.

Mackinlay, who temporarily led Ukip in 1997 before being replaced by Michael Holmes, said in June that there was a “distinct possibility” that he could stand as the Tory candidate for the seat.

In 2005, Farage finished fourth when he stood in the same constituency, and it is believed he is eyeing up the seat for next year's election.

A decision on which constituency Farage will contest is expected to be announced later this summer.


Mackinlay began his political career in the early 1990s as part of Alan Sked’s Anti-Federalist League, the party that would later become the UK Independence Party.

After being chosen as the person to replace Sked, he lost a leadership vote to Michael Holmes in 1997 and was demoted to the role of Ukip’s Deputy Leader until 2000.

Remaining active in the party for another five years, in 2005 he decided to switch allegiances and join the Conservative Party where he has served as a Tory councillor in the Medway council ever since.

He was also chosen as the Conservative candidate for Kent’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in November 2012.

Farage has refused to comment on the Conservative’s decision to put forward his former Ukip colleague for the seat.

Mr Mackinlay will be up against Will Scobie (Labour), Russ Timpson (Liberal Democrats) and Ian Driver (Green Party).