UK lawmaker who wanted to be known as the ‘bionic MP’ says he has decided not to run for re-election

LONDON (AP) — A British lawmaker who returned to work this week after losing his hands and feet to sepsis announced Friday that he will not run in the July 4 election.

Conservative legislator Craig Mackinlay was welcomed with a standing ovation in the House of Commons on Wednesday, six months after sepsis put him in a coma and forced the amputation of both hands and both feet.

Mackinlay, 57, had said on Wednesday that he wanted to be known as “the bionic MP” and planned to run for another term in office. Hours later, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised most people, including his own lawmakers, by announcing an earlier-than-expected polling day.

Parliament is breaking up on Friday ahead of election day in just under six weeks.

Mackinlay, who has represented the South Thanet district of southeast England in Parliament since 2015, said Friday that the election call had sparked “36 hours 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,” he wrote on Facebook. “It would be difficult to withstand the rigors of an all-out election campaign, a campaign that I’d always wish to lead from the front.”

Mackinlay described in interviews this week how he was taken to hospital on Sept. 28 after feeling ill. At the hospital, he said, he turned “bright blue” as sepsis caused clotting that stopped blood getting to his limbs.

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.

Suffering from septic shock, Mackinlay was put in an induced coma and his wife was told he had a 5% chance of survival.

He said he plans to campaign for greater awareness of the signs of sepsis, and for Britain’s state-funded National Health Service, which treated him and saved his life, to offer better treatment and prosthetics to people who have lost more than one limb.

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