‘Bionic MP’ Craig Mackinlay shares emotional statement and says it will be ‘impossible’ for him to contest seat

24 May 2024, 13:10 | Updated: 24 May 2024, 13:11

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has said he will not be able to bear the 'rigours' of life as an MP
Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has said he will not be able to bear the 'rigours' of life as an MP. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The Conservative MP who lost his limbs to sepsis will not run for his seat in the upcoming general election, he revealed today as he shared an emotional statement about his hopes for the future.

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Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay said that after nearly losing his life to the condition he would not be able to ‘withstand the rigours’ of life as a politician.

“Upon being re-elected it would be difficult for me to sustain 70 to 80 hour working weeks which were the norm prior to my illness,” he said in an emotionally charged Facebook post.

Mr Mackinlay wrote: “The snap election announcement has caused me 36 hrs of intense soul searching.

“Whilst my heart tells me to stand again, there being so much unfinished business across local regeneration and national issues which are important to me, my head knows this to be impossible at this time.

Read more: 'Bionic MP' Craig Mackinlay given standing ovation on return to Commons after quadruple amputation following sepsis

Read more: Craig Mackinlay says he’s ‘lucky to be alive’ as he reveals he lost both feet and hands to sepsis

'Bionic' MP receives standing ovation in House of Commons

“It would be difficult to withstand the rigours of an all-out election campaign, a campaign that I’d always wish to lead from the front.

“Thereafter, upon being re-elected it would be difficult for me to sustain 70 to 80 hour working weeks which were the norm prior to my illness. “

The snap election announcement has caused me 36 hrs of intense soul searching. Whilst my heart tells me to stand...

Posted by Craig Mackinlay on Friday, May 24, 2024

He continued: “I had hoped to phase my return to the House of Commons over the coming months as my abilities improved.

“Since leaving in-patient rehabilitation a month ago my life now revolves around various medical appointments. I face numerous future operations as a result of the serious sepsis that I suffered which very nearly took my life. I have only just started the prosthetic journey and I have weekly physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions.

Mr Mackinlay said it would be impossible for him to contest his seat
Mr Mackinlay said it would be impossible for him to contest his seat. Picture: Alamy

“I had the most memorable appearance of my time as an MP at this week’s PMQs: it was emotional and the experience quite surreal. I shall never forget it. I had expected it to be the start of my return. It will, however, be remembered as my last hurrah.

“I will now campaign to raise awareness for, and particularly the early recognition of, the onset of sepsis. If this results in the saving of one life or the prevention of the type of disablement that I have suffered it will be a worthwhile campaign. I will also do all that I can to ensure that multiple limb loss amputees get the right prosthetics at the right time to ensure that lives can return to as close to normality as possible.

“To be elected to the House of Commons is a rare privilege of life.

“I thank my South Thanet constituents for placing their trust in me across three General Elections.”

He was applauded by colleagues upon his return to the Commons
He was applauded by colleagues upon his return to the Commons. Picture: Alamy

He has said his purpose in life will be saving other people from sepsis.

The South Thanet MP received a standing ovation from MPs as he returned to Parliament after what he described as "eight months of hell".

Mr Mackinlay was rushed into hospital and put into a 16-day induced coma, with his wife told he had only a 5% chance of survival.

He underwent a quadruple amputation in December and wore prosthetics in the chamber, where he received tributes from Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ahead of Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Mackinlay underwent a quadruple amputation in December and wore prosthetics in the chamber
Mr Mackinlay underwent a quadruple amputation in December and wore prosthetics in the chamber. Picture: Alamy

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Mackinlay described the welcome he had received as "quite overwhelming".

"It is times like this you see the House of Commons at its best, where people put their differences aside and realise we are all just people," he said.

"It is not a day I ever wanted. I would rather be sitting on the backbenches whole and complete. I have been through eight months of hell, had sepsis, lost all my limbs, but I am back, and that is the beauty of this place, that people will accept you, the House authorities will make sure that your return is well looked after."

At PMQs, the South Thanet MP pressed Mr Sunak to ensure the Government "embed recognition of early signs of sepsis", and advocated for greater access to prosthetics for multiple limb amputees.

"The NHS itself has recognised this morning that more needs to be done, and I can assure him that we will do that," the Prime Minister replied.

Mr Mackinlay said: "If I can save one life, because sepsis kills 50,0000 people a year, a lot of people are older people but there are a quite a number my age and younger, if I can save one of those by recognising sepsis early then I think I will have had a purpose in life."

Speaking of his new prosthetic limbs, he added: "These are on trial at the moment, but as things go, to get them early I had to pay for them myself. The NHS will provide them but it will be in the fullness of time, it might take two or three years, and I am not convinced that is always appropriate for everybody."

The Prime Minister had earlier praised Ms Mackinlay's "incredible resilience", while Labour leader Sir Keir shook his hand and paid tribute to the MP's "deep sense of service".

Mr Mackinlay thanked the Prime Minister, telling MPs: "He hasn't advertised it, he has been to see me multiple times, and to me that shows the true depth of the character of the Prime Minister and thank you for that."

He also joked about Sir Lindsay's official dress as Speaker, claiming other patients in hospital thought him "dreadfully ill because they said that guy has got the funeral director in already".

MPs again clapped when Mr Mackinlay thanked his family and the NHS staff who "took me from where I was close to death".

Ahead of his return to Parliament, Mr Mackinlay shared with several media outlets the story of how he was rushed into hospital in September last year.

On waking up, he 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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