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

22 May 2024, 12:52 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 14:41

Craig Mackinlay has been given a standing ovation on his return to Parliament
Craig Mackinlay has been given a standing ovation on his return to Parliament. Picture: Alamy/Craig Mackinlay

By Kit Heren

This article includes images some readers may find distressing

Craig Mackinlay, the MP who had all four limbs partially amputated and nearly died after contracting sepsis, has returned to a standing ovation in the House of Commons.

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Mr Mackinlay, 57, was given a 5% chance of survival in September after being diagnosed with the infection that meant he had to have his hands and feet removed and replaced with prosthetics.

The Conservative MP for South Thanet returned to the House of Commons for Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, after months away, with his wife and daughter watching on.

His fellow MPs from across all political parties rose to their feet to give him a round of applause as he entered the chamber.

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

Read more: MP who had quadruple amputation after contracting sepsis 'lucky to be alive' after being given 5% chance of survival

MPs defy 'no clapping' rule to welcome back Craig Mackinlay

Rishi Sunak offered his "personal welcome back to Parliament to my friend and colleague the member for South Thanet", and said he was "in awe of his incredible resilience."

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament as he returns to the House of Commons for the first time since he was rushed into hospital with sepsis on September 28
Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament as he returns to the House of Commons for the first time since he was rushed into hospital with sepsis on September 28. Picture: Alamy

Keir Starmer said he had met Mr Mackinlay, his wife and his daughter earlier to offer his best wishes in person.

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, shakes hands with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, shakes hands with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy

He added: "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."

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament as he returns to the House of Commons
Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament as he returns to the House of Commons. Picture: Alamy

Starmer also said: "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."

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle also welcomed Mr Mackinlay back to the House, adding: "Can I say to you and your family, it is an inspiration to people in this country who have suffered with sepsis, you have shown us the way forward, thank you."

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament
Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of parliament. Picture: Alamy

Mr Mackinlay was rushed to hospital last September after feeling unwell and placed into an induced coma which lasted 16 days.

He was given just a 5% chance of survival after being diagnosed with sepsis that then led to the amputations.

He has said he wants to be known as the first “bionic MP” after he was fitted with prosthetic legs and hands.

MP Craig McKinley reveals astonishing damage sepsis had done to limbs before amputation

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection.

It occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the body's own tissues and organs.

Read more: Jeremy Hunt says he’s ‘very cross’ at Thames water asking for bill payers to ‘bail them out’ with bill rises

Now on the eve of his Commons comeback, he said he wanted to be the first "bionic MP".

He described waking up from his coma and seeing his legs had "turned black", telling the BBC: "I haven't got a medical degree but I know what dead things look like.

"I was surprisingly stoic about it... I don't know why I was. It might have been the various cocktail of drugs I was on."

Mr Mackinlay suffered multiple organ failure
Mr Mackinlay suffered multiple organ failure. Picture: Alamy

"They managed to save above the elbows and above the knees," he told the broadcaster. "So you might say I'm lucky."

In a video recorded on the eve of the operation, he said: "The grim reaper has let me survive, but he's taken his payment in four of my limbs."

In the video he compares the appearance of his arms and legs to "plastic" and "leather".

He also thanked the NHS and the staff who helped him at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent.

Read more: What is the infected blood scandal? Inquiry into biggest treatment disaster in NHS history due to publish findings

Conservative MP For Thanet Attends Court
The Thanet MP has thanked his wife for her support thoughout the process. Picture: Getty

All the amputations took place on 1 December and Mr Mackinlay said a "sombre" Christmas followed.

But he said his four-year-old daughter Olivia "adapted to it very easily... probably better than anybody else frankly, I think children are just so remarkably adjustable".

After attending Prime Minister's Questions, the MP met Rishi Sunak before getting back to the day job.

He is determined to fight the next election to continue to serve his Kent constituency.

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