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Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

Useful information and related reading about MPs.

How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?

At the 2019 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?

As a result of the 2019 General Election there were 430 male MPs.

How many female MPs are there?

At the 2019 General Election 220 female MPs were elected.

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 Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP.

Who is the Father of the House?

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

Who is the oldest MP?

At the 2019 General Election, the oldest MP elected was Sir William Cash, aged 79 when last re-elected.

Who is the youngest MP?

The youngest MP is Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, aged 23 when elected in December 2019.

What is the average age of an MP?

In the period from 1979 to 2019, the average age of MPs at elections has been consistently around 50 years.

What is the longest ever 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?

There is no official data on the ethnic background of MPs. However, independent sources report that following the 2019 election there were 65 non-white MPs, 10% of the total.

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?

£81,932 from 1 April 2020. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) are responsible for setting the level of MPs' pay.

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?

Current figures are given on the Cabinet Office website.

How much do Cabinet Ministers get paid?

Current figures are given on the Cabinet Office website.

How much do Select Committee Chairs get paid?

Current figures are given on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) website.

How much does the Speaker get paid?

Current figures are given in the following research briefing:

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 - details of the scheme are given on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) website.

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.

  • Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
  • Email: hcenquiries@parliament.uk
  • Text relay: Dial 18001 followed by our full number

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

Publications

The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free guides which you can read online, download or order copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

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

Glossary

An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

View glossary