Andrew MacKinlay

Last updated

Andrew MacKinlay
Member of Parliament
for Thurrock
In office
10 April 1992 12 April 2010
Preceded by Timothy Janman
Succeeded by Jackie Doyle-Price
Personal details
Born (1949-04-24) 24 April 1949 (age 70)
London, England, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s)Ruth Segar; 3 children

Andrew Stuart MacKinlay (born 24 April 1949) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Thurrock from 1992 until he stepped down at the 2010 general election.

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.

Thurrock (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Thurrock is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Jackie Doyle-Price, a Conservative.

1992 United Kingdom general election election for members of the British House of Commons

The 1992 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 9 April 1992, to elect 651 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The election resulted in the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party since 1979 and the last time that the Conservatives would win a majority at a general election until 2015. This election result took many by surprise, as opinion polling leading up to the election day had shown the Labour Party, under leader Neil Kinnock, consistently, if narrowly, ahead.


Early life

MacKinlay was educated variously at St Joseph's School, Wembley; Our Lady Immaculate Primary School, Tolworth; Salesian College (a private Catholic school at the time), now a comprehensive called Salesian School, (Highfield Road, Chertsey), and Kingston College. He worked from 1965 as a committee clerk with Surrey County Council until 1975, when he served as a union official with the National and Local Government Officers Association (NALGO). He joined NALGO in 1965. He joined the Labour Party in 1966. MacKinlay was elected councillor in 1971 in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and served for seven years. [1]

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Pope and based in Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Chertsey town in Surrey, England

Chertsey is a town in the Runnymede borough of Surrey, England on the right bank of the River Thames where it is met by a corollary, the Abbey River and a tributary, the River Bourne or Chertsey Bourne. It is within a narrow projection of the Greater London Urban Area, aside from the Thames bordered by Thorpe Park, junction 11 of the M25 London orbital motorway, the town of Addlestone and south-western semi-rural villages that were formerly within Chertsey. Chertsey is centred 29 kilometres (18 mi) southwest of central London, has a branch line railway station and less than 1 mile (1.6 km) north of its developed centre is the M3 (motorway).

Kingston College is a College of Further, Higher and Adult Education based in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, England. It has four campuses in the town of Kingston. The main campus is the tallest building in the town and is based on Kingston Hall Road. The second campus is based on Richmond Road and is primarily used for the Arts. The third campus is at Anstee House on Wood Street and houses the Fashion and Media curriculum areas. The fourth, Drapers Court, is adjacent to Kingston Hall Road.

Parliamentary career

He stood unsuccessfully for Labour in the following elections:

February 1974 United Kingdom general election general election

The February 1974 United Kingdom general election was held on the 28th day of that month. The Labour Party led by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson made moderate gains, but was short of an overall majority. The Conservative Party led by incumbent Edward Heath lost 37 seats, but achieved a slightly higher share of the vote than Labour. This resulted in a hung parliament; Heath resigned when he found himself unable to form a coalition, and Wilson became Prime Minister for a second time. Labour won 301 seats, 17 short of a majority.

Surbiton was a borough constituency created for the 1955 general election and abolished for the 1997 general election, in Surrey until 1965 and thereafter in outer south-west London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom by the first past the post system of election.

October 1974 United Kingdom general election

The October 1974 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members of the British House of Commons. It was the second general election held that year, and the first year that two general elections were held in a single year since 1910, 64 years earlier. The election resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson winning a narrow majority of just 3 seats.

In 2003, MacKinlay famously described Dr David Kelly as "chaff" during Dr. Kelly's appearance before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. The Committee was investigating issues around the British government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

David Kelly (weapons expert) British weapons expert

David Christopher Kelly was a Welsh scientist and authority on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. He came to public attention in July 2003 when an unauthorised discussion he had off the record with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan about the UK Government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was cited by Gilligan and led to a major controversy. Kelly's name became known to the media as Gilligan's source and he was called to appear on 15 July before a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee investigating the issues Gilligan had reported. Kelly was questioned aggressively about his actions. He was found dead two days later.

Chaff Protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain

Chaff is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw. Chaff is indigestible by humans, but livestock can eat it and in agriculture it is used as livestock fodder, or is a waste material ploughed into the soil or burned.

Mackinlay's question was:

I reckon you are chaff; you have been thrown up to divert our probing. Have you ever felt like a fall-guy? You have been set up, have you not? [2]

So in this context "chaff" is a reference to the radar countermeasure rather than to something of little value. [3]

It emerged during Kelly's subsequent inquest that Kelly had been deeply upset by his treatment before the Committee and had privately described an MP, assumed to be MacKinlay, as an "utter bastard". [4] [5] MacKinlay reportedly apologised to Kelly's widow for the remark. [6]

According to one report, in May 2007, MacKinlay made the nomination that resulted in Gordon Brown having enough nominations to be certain of not facing a contest over the leadership of the party. [7] However, another report states that the decisive nomination was made by Tony Wright [8] with MacKinlay yet to nominate at that point.

Notice of resignation

On 24 July 2009, he announced that he would not stand at the next General Election due to disillusionment with the way he felt other MPs had caved in to party pressure rather than standing up for their beliefs. [9] He said that the final straw was the failure of a number of Labour MPs who had expressed support for Gary McKinnon, awaiting extradition to the U.S. on computer hacking charges, to vote for a review of the extradition treaty. [10]

Damages win

On 1 October 2009, MacKinlay accepted a public apology and libel damages from the BBC over allegations made on BBC2’s Newsnight programme that he proposed an amendment to a British government motion on expenses of MPs so he would benefit financially. [11] [12] [13]

Afghanistan war

On 4 September 2009, MacKinlay supported the views of Eric Joyce on the Afghanistan war. [ clarification needed ] [14] [15]

Ireland & the Commonwealth

Mackinlay argued that initiatives should be taken to encourage Ireland to participate in the Commonwealth. [16] He brought forward a motion on the issue in the House of Commons. [16] Ireland had participated in the Commonwealth in the 1930s and 40s. Mackinlay's view was that historians were wrong to say that Ireland had left the Commonwealth in 1949. [16] This was, he said, because the Commonwealth, to the extent that it existed, was nothing like the Commonwealth of today. [16] He felt that the London Declaration formula that permitted republics to participate in the Commonwealth had not been offered to Ireland as an option, though he felt it was not too late to do so. He argued that Ireland should be formally invited to join and that the Commonwealth was its "natural place". [16]

Personal life

He is a keen researcher on World War I history, travelling and discovering Ireland, and is an honorary patron of Tilbury Football Club. He and his wife Ruth (née Segar); have three children. While an MP, he employed his wife as his personal assistant. [17] He is a member of the editorial board of Total Politics , a political magazine, [18] of which his daughter, Sarah, was editor until August 2009. [19] [20]

He was given the Freedom of Gibraltar in 2010. [21] [22]

In 2019, he joined the Liberal Democrats.

Political views and controversies

MacKinlay publicly supports the abolition of the monarchy and is identified as a republican. [23]

On 28 June 2008, it was reported by the Mail Online (Daily Mail) website that Mackinlay had received a warning from the Prime Minister's Office after MI5 discovered that he was holding meetings with a suspected Russian spy, Alexander Polyakov, officially a counsellor at the Russian Embassy in London. It was also claimed that MacKinlay had been targeted by aides of Russia's richest man, Oleg Deripaska, as a 'stooge' for use in a High Court battle. [24]

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  1. Thurrock Labour Party profile Archived 26 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine ; accessed 6 August 2014.
  2. Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence Q167
  3. "Hutton inquiry witness", 29 August 2003; accessed 6 August 2014.
  4. Neil Tweedie and Sandra Laville "'Dad said interrogator MP was utter bastard'", The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2003; retrieved 29 April 2009.
  5. Andrew Sparrow, "Why MacKinlay the Grand Inquisitor hit a raw nerve", The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2003; accessed 6 August 2014.
  6. "Committee MP defends relentless grilling of Kelly",; accessed 6 August 2014.
  7. Nick Robinson It's official. It's Brown", 16 May 2007; accessed 6 August 2014.
  8. "Brown will enter No 10 unopposed",, 16 May 2007; accessed 6 August 2014.
  9. "Andrew MacKinlay Quits Parliament",; July 2009.
  10. Matthew Moore (25 July 2009). "Andrew MacKinlay MP quits over hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  11. BBC Andrew MacKinlay MP – an apology
  12. "Labour MP wins apology and damages from BBC",; accessed 6 August 2014.
  13. Oliver Luft MP paid 'substantial damages' over Newsnight slur Archived 16 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine ,, 2 October 2009.
  14. BBC "Joyce quit letter was 'right'",, 4 September 2009.
  15. "Eric Joyce on Afghanistan in resignation letter as Parliamentary Private Secretary",, 3 September 2009, accessed 21 August 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 24 July 2007: Column 238WH – Ireland and the Commonwealth
  17. "Family jobs and parliamentary passes",, 31 January 2008.
  18. "Total Politics – The Team". Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  19. "From the Editor" Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine ,, 21 August 2009.
  20. Ask Aristotle: Andrew MacKinlay MP,; accessed 6 August 2014.
  23. List of supporters Archived 31 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed 6 August 2014.
  24. Owen, Glen (28 June 2008). "Labour MP pulled before chief whip for inviting 'Russian spy' to tea in the Commons". Mail Online . Daily Mail . Retrieved 30 June 2008.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Timothy Janman
Member of Parliament for Thurrock
Succeeded by
Jackie Doyle-Price