Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

Useful information and related reading about MPs.

How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?

After the General Election 2010, 650 MPs were elected. 

How many MPs are there in each party?

For the State of the Parties please follow the link below:

How many male MPs are there?

There are currently 502 male MPs.

How many female MPs are there?

There are currently 148 female MPs.

Who was the first female MP?

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

Who was the first female Minister?

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

Who is the Speaker of the House of Commons?

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

Who is the Father of the House?

The Father of the House (the MP with the longest unbroken service) is Rt Hon Sir Peter Tapsell.

Who is the oldest MP?

The oldest MP is Rt Hon Sir Peter Tapsell, Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle, aged 85.

Who is the youngest MP?

The youngest MP is Pamela Nash, Labour MP for Airdrie and Shotts, aged 30.

What is the average age of an MP?

Following the general election of 2010, the average age of an MP was 50. The new House is slightly older on average than those in 1979, 1983 and 1987.

What is the average length of service for an MP?

The average service of MPs elected in 2010 is 3,226 days, over a year less than the average of 3,609 days following the 2005 general election.

What is the longest length of service for an MP?

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.

How many MPs are from ethnic minorities?

At the 2010 election there were 27 MPs from an ethnic minority. We do not hold data about MPs ethnicity.

Do MPs have to live in their constituency?

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

For more details contact the Electoral Commission

When did MPs first get an annual salary?

1911. The first annual salary was £400.

What is the annual salary of an MP?

£67,060 as of 1 April 2014.

Do MPs pay tax on their salary?

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

Can MPs claim expenses?

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)

How much does the Prime Minister get paid?

The combined ministerial and parliamentary salary of the Prime Minister is £142,500 at April 2013. This figure includes the parliamentary salary of £67,060.

How much do Cabinet Ministers get paid?

The combined ministerial and parliamentary salary of a Cabinet minister is £134,565 at April 2013. This figure includes the parliamentary salary of £67,060.

How much do Select Committee Chairs get paid?

The salary entitlement of a Select Committee Chair is £81,936 (this figure comprises of MP's salary of £67,060 and additional salary for Select Committee Chairs of £14,876) from 1 April 2014.

How much does the Speaker get paid?

The salary of the Speaker is £142,826 (this figure comprises of MP's salary of £67,060 and the additional salary for the Speaker of £75,766).

Do opposition parties get financial help from Parliament?

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

Do MPs have their own pension scheme?

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 Information Office

The House of Commons Information Office 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 HCIO produces a number of publications that include:

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