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22 May 2024

Standing ovation for MP Craig Mackinlay on return to Commons after sepsis ordeal

22 May 2024

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has received a standing ovation as he made his first appearance in the House of Commons since his sepsis ordeal.

On September 28, the South Thanet MP was rushed into hospital and put into a 16-day induced coma, with his wife told he had only a 5% chance of survival.

On Wednesday, MPs from across the House rose to their feet as Mr Mackinlay entered the chamber, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was seen welcoming him back with a handshake.

The MP, who underwent a quadruple amputation in December and appeared in the chamber wearing prosthetics, received a second round of applause ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions and was welcomed back by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

“I am sure the whole House would like to join me in welcoming back our colleague, our friend, an inspirational honourable member for South Thanet,” Sir Lindsay said.

Rishi Sunak praised his Conservative colleague’s “incredible resilience”.

The Prime Minister told the Commons: “Can I also add my personal welcome back to Parliament to my friend and colleague the member for South Thanet?

“No one who watched his interview last night could have failed to have been in awe of his incredible resilience.”

Sir Keir meanwhile thanked Mr Mackinlay for his “deep sense of service”.

The Labour leader told MPs: “I want to begin by saying a few words to the member for Thanet South.

“Firstly thank you for meeting me privately this morning with your wife and daughter so I could personally convey my best wishes to all of you.

“Secondly, on some occasions and there aren’t many, this House genuinely comes together as one and we do so today to pay tribute to your courage and determination in not only coming through an awful ordeal, but by being here today with us in this chamber.

“And thirdly I want to acknowledge your deep sense of service. I think politics is about service, and resuming your duties as an MP, being here today, shows us – it is an example for all of us – of your deep sense of service and we thank you for it.”

The tributes continued, with SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn saying the Tory MP was “truly an inspiration”.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey meanwhile said that his party admired Mr Mackinlay’s courage.

During Science, Innovation and Technology questions, Conservative frontbencher Julia Lopez said: “Welcome back to the honourable friend for South Thanet, what an appropriate way to walk in on science questions, for the new bionic MP.”

In a series of interviews ahead of his return to Parliament, Mr Mackinlay shared the story of how he was rushed into hospital in September last year.

On waking up, Mr Mackinlay saw his arms and legs “had turned black” and were “like a plastic” and “looked dead”.

The politician said he was “surprisingly stoic” when he was told he would undergo a quadruple amputation on December 1.

The 57-year-old father of one said he wants to be known as the first “bionic MP” after being fitted with prosthetic legs and hands.

The MP is determined to fight the next election in his Kent constituency, due to be renamed Thanet East.

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection that occurs when the immune system overreacts and starts to damage the body’s tissues and organs.

Mr Mackinlay started his political career in the early 1990s, briefly leading the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) before leaving to join the Conservative Party in 2005.

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