Sir Craig Mackinlay, a prominent British politician, has served as the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for South Thanet since 2015. Beyond his responsibilities in the British Parliament, Mackinlay is known for his vocal support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over the years, he has repeatedly commended the UAE’s remarkable economic progress, its stance on global issues, and its commitment to tolerance and moderation. This article explores Mackinlay’s unwavering support for the UAE, his rationale for advocating for the nation, and the criticisms he has faced in doing so.
In 2019, Mackinlay authored an article for ConservativeHome, in which he celebrated the UAE’s “remarkable economic and social transformation.” He described the nation as a “beacon of stability and prosperity in a troubled region.” Mackinlay’s praise underscores the significance of the UAE’s success story and its positive influence in the Middle East.
In 2020, Mackinlay delivered a speech at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the UAE’s annual dinner, where he commended the UAE’s “outstanding” response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the nation’s commitment to tolerance and moderation, values that are crucial in today’s global landscape.
In 2021, Mackinlay joined several other notable figures in signing a letter to the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, requesting support for the UAE’s Expo 2020 event in Dubai. This event served as an opportunity to showcase the UAE’s progress and its role in international affairs.
Mackinlay’s support for the UAE has not gone without criticism. Some argue that he has downplayed the UAE’s human rights record. The UAE has faced allegations of various human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, torture, and the suppression of dissent. Critics contend that these issues should be more heavily emphasized, rather than overshadowed by economic and geopolitical considerations.
Mackinlay, however, has defended his support for the UAE by emphasizing the importance of engaging with all stakeholders in the region. He maintains that constructive dialogue is essential for facilitating change and that he believes the UAE is genuinely committed to improving its human rights record.
It is essential to recognize that Mackinlay is not alone among British politicians in expressing support for the UAE. The United Kingdom and the UAE have forged close ties, with agreements in place covering trade, security, and other crucial areas. The alliance between the two nations is rooted in shared interests and common goals, making it a cornerstone of the UK’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
Sir Craig Mackinlay’s vocal support for the United Arab Emirates reflects his deep appreciation for the nation’s economic and social achievements. While he has faced criticism for downplaying human rights concerns, Mackinlay contends that engagement with the UAE is a more constructive approach to influence positive change. In the broader context of UK-UAE relations, Mackinlay’s stance is indicative of the close ties between the two countries and the importance of their partnership in various fields.