Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

Useful information and related reading about MPs.

At the 2015 General Election, 650 MPs were elected. 

Up to date information is shown on the State of the Parties page at the link below:

There are currently 453 male MPs.

After the 2015 General Election there were 459 male MPs. As a result of a number of by-elections and the recent death of Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) there are currently 453 male MPs.

There are currently 196 women MPs.

191 women were elected as MPs at the 2015 General Election; five further women have been elected in by-elections since then.

Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the House of Commons, in 1918. However, as a member of Sinn Fein, she did not take her seat. The first woman to be elected and to take her seat was Viscountess Nancy Astor in 1919.

Margaret Bondfield - appointed Under Secretary in the Ministry of Labour in 1924.

The Speaker of the House of Commons is the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

The Father of the House (the MP with the longest unbroken service) is Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP.

The oldest MP is Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover, aged 83 when re-elected in May 2015.

The youngest MP is Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, aged 20 when elected in May 2015.

The average age of MPs elected at the 2015 General Election is 50.

At the last election, in 2010, the average age of an MP was also 50.

The average length of service for MPs elected in May 2015 was 3,175 days (8.7 years).

Charles Pelham Villiers served continuously for 63 years, 6 days. Sir Winston Churchill served for 63 years, 10 months in total but this was not unbroken service.

Parliament does not hold data about MPs' ethnicity. External sources suggest that 41 MPs elected in May 2015 define themselves as being from an ethnic minority.

MPs do not have to live in their constituency. In fact, there is no residency qualification at all - an MP could even live outside the UK. There are, however, nationality and age qualifications and a number of other disqualifications for MPs.

For more details contact the Electoral Commission

1911. The first annual salary was £400.

£74,962 as of 1 April 2016.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) confirmed on 26 February 2016, that MPs’ pay would increase by 1.3% from 1 April 2016, in line with the rate of annual change in average earnings.

Yes. MPs pay the same rates of taxation and National Insurance as any other employed person.

Yes. MPs can claim expenses to cover, for example, staff costs, travel expenses and the cost of running an office. Expenses for MPs are regulated and administered by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

Current figures are given in the following research briefing:

Current figures are given in the following research briefing:

Current figures are given in the following research briefing:

Current figures are given in the following research briefing:

Opposition parties get extra money to help them carry out their parliamentary business. This is known as 'Short Money'.

Yes they do - a final salary scheme with a choice of accrual rates. Members can choose to contribute at 1/40th, 1/50th or 1/60th. From April 2012, MPs’ contribution rates increased by 1.85% to: 13.75% (for members with a 1/40th accrual rate); 9.75% (1/50th accrual rate); and 7.75% (1/60th accrual rate).

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

Our telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).


The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

Follow @HouseofCommons for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.