Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

Useful information and related reading about MPs.

At the 2017 General Election, 650 MPs were elected. 

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

As a result of the 2017 General Election there were 442 male MPs.

At the close of the 2015-17 Parliament there were 453 male MPs.

At the 2017 General Election 208 female MPs were elected.

At the close of the 2015-17 Parliament there were 196 female MPs.

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 Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

The Father of the House (the MP with the longest unbroken service) is unchanged after the 2017 general election: Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP.

The oldest MP is Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover, aged 85 when re-elected in June 2017.

The youngest MP is Mhairi Black, Scottish National Party MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, aged 22 when re-elected in June 2017.

The average age of MPs elected at the 2017 General Election was 50.

After the last election, in 2015, 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.

There is no official data on the ethnic background of MPs. However, independent sources report that following the 2017 election there are now 52 non-white MPs, 8% of the total.

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.