Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

Useful information and related reading about MPs.

How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?

At the 2015 General Election, 650 MPs were elected. 

How many MPs are there in each party?

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

How many male MPs are there?

After the 2015 General Election there are now 459 male MPs.

How many female MPs are there?

After the 2015 General Election there are now 191 female MPs.

Who was the first female MP?

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.

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 Gerald Kaufman.

Who is the oldest MP?

The oldest MP is Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman, Labour Party MP for Manchester, Gorton, aged 84 when re-elected in May 2015.

Who is the youngest MP?

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

What is the average age of an MP?

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.

What is the average length of service for an MP?

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

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?

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.

Do MPs have to live in their constituency?

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

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 2015.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) announced on 16 July 2015 that MPs will be paid an annual salary of £74,000, backdated to 8 May 2015. The change to the salary will take effect from 31 July 2015. The backdated salary payment will be made on 28 August 2015.

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 series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

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