Published on 6 Sep 2012

Mates set to make over £100,000 from Dolphin Square windfall

The questions about Michael Mates continue. It now appears that on top of the estimated £40,000 windfall he got from being a tenant of Dolphin Square, he’s now managed to use the money to make a substantial profit.

Yesterday Mr Mates tried to explain to me the situation over the huge windfall he got from giving up his tenancy of a flat in Dolphin Square in Westminster, after living there for three decades as an MP. Over that time his rent on Dolphin Square was met from his parliamentary allowances as an MP, i.e. public money. In effect, Mr Mates (like several dozen other MPs) got a huge financial jackpot from holding public office, and from the public purse meeting the cost of his renting a second home in London.

Mr Mates has explained to me that, with the permission of the commons fees office, he invested his windfall in a house in south London, as he needed a replacement place to live once he gave up the Dolphin Square flat in 2006. Fair enough.

Mr Mates also announced in 2006 that he planned to retire at the next election, and in 2010 he duly did so. He also promised in 2008 that once he stepped down as an MP, he would consult the Commons authorities on whether any of his Dolphin Square windfall should be paid to parliament. It has now almost two and a half years since Mates ceased being an MP, and he has confirmed to me that he has yet to carry out this consultation, let alone send the Commons authorities a cheque. Many of his Tory critics in Hampshire believe he has behaved very badly on this and cite it as a major reason for him to step down as the party’s candidate for Hampshire police commissioner.

Mr Mates repeatedly refuses to say how much his windfall was, beyond telling me that it was less than the £48,000 which Sir Alan Beith was offered to give up a tenancy of similar length (and which he refused*).  I estimate Mates must have received something in the region of £40-45,000. He will no doubt let me know if that estimate is badly wrong.

Land Registry records show that Mr Mates and his wife Christine bought the house in Stockwell in July 2006 for £560,000. The house has recently been on the market for £775,000 and, according to both the estate agent and Mr Mates, it is now under offer.

Mr Mates looks set to make a significant profit on the property if the sale goes through. True, the house appears to have been up for sale for several months, so the offer is likely to be a fair bit less than £775,000 – around £740,000 perhaps. That would still entail a profit of £180,000, and after capital gains tax and various costs, that would be reduced to around £120,000.

So not only has Michael Mates enjoyed his Dolphin Square windfall of around £40,000 for more than six years now but he has also managed to use the money to clock up a substantial profit.

Mr Mates argues that since stepping down as an MP, he has had to meet the large monthly mortgage payments on the Stockwell house. But then it’s quite likely that his grown up step-children, who are registered as living at his Stockwell home, will have contributed to these costs.

All in all, Michael Mates appears to have done pretty well from his Dolphin Square windfall, at a time when other MPs have been obliged to pay much of their Dolphin Square windfalls back to the Commons.

*My original version of this blog incorrectly said that Sir Alan had taken the £48,000 offer. This is not the case – he declined it. I am very sorry to Sir Alan for this error. I was merely using his offer as an example to estimate how much Michael Mates might have received.

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10 reader comments

  1. factchecker says:

    Even if your figures are correct – and they seem to have been the product of a pretty fertile imagination – your maths is shocking. Assuming a presumed windfall of £40,000, that would represent around 7% of what you say Mates paid for his house. Again accepting your figures of alleged profit, 7% of 120,000 would be around £8,400. Not exactly the £100,000 of your headline.
    If a basic percentage calculation can be out by a factor of 12+, how much faith can we have in the rest of your assumptions? Mathematical illiteracy and investigative journalism do not go well together.

  2. Oink, Oink says:

    “Mr Mates argues that since stepping down as an MP, he has had to meet the large monthly mortgage payments on the Stockwell house.”

    And who met them from April 2006 until April 2010? You and me!

    Bet the house was bought in joint names too, so they’ll get double Capital Gains tax relief and, from the published expense ACA allowances, it seems Mrs Mates’ mortgage share was paid by us too.

    In fact, a quick scan of those ACA expenses tells a lot about how they used to claim up to the limit, with no receipts required.

    Who’ll be checking expenses of the P&CCs, when elected? Hope they have to produce receipts as MPs do now – since 2010.

  3. factchecker says:

    Even if the figures you quote are accurate – which is a pretty big if – this is a spectacular maths ‘fail’. £40,000 is about 7% of the purchase price of £560,000. So 7% of your claimed profit of £120,000 would be around £8,400, which is not exactly the ‘more than £100,000’ of your headline. If you can get this calculation out by a factor of 12 or more, it casts some serious doubt on any of the figures or assumptions in your article. Innumeracy and investigative journalism do not go well together.

    1. Oink, Oink says:

      Methinks “factchecker” definitely needs to go back to school!

  4. HampshireTory says:

    @factchecker The point here is that the rest of us do not get given £40,000 to go buy a house. Even if your calculation is correct, the profit here is £48,400 – and it ALL belongs to the public purse, and should be given back!

  5. R. Smith says:

    Surely its only a matter of time before this man is removed as the candidate. I’m not political and the only reason I read this blog was due to a friend (retired CID) allerting me to it. I have always voted Tory (40 yrs) but Im not convinced about a man whos almost 80 years of age running a whole police force and that was before I found out about him “taking without consent” £40k of taxpayers money. To make matters worse he contacted the attorney general not once but twice, asking him to drop chrages against Nadir 20 years ago. Finanlly he appreared at The Old Baily last month giving a know fraudester a character reference! Sorry Mr Mates, as much as I want to vote Tory, I won’t be voting for youl.

  6. trevor habeshawa says:

    Did anyone seriously expect any different behaviour? Thankfully there are still a few like Alan Beith who can see the moral as well as the financial implications of the ‘fee office jamboree’.
    As for Mates becoming the Police Commissioner for anywhere after this farrago, his audacity takes my breath away.

  7. Tom Halpin says:

    I’m not a fan of Mates but surely MP’s and peers who had their mortgages paid over a similar period would have made far larger profits. Do you want all of these to repay their profit or is there something personal going on here.

    1. HantsPCCWatch says:

      Tom,

      If it is proven they made profits using deposits gained as the Dolphin Square ones were – then yes – all should pay back the relevant proportion – and if the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has the remit to investigate without a formal complaint (which he has had since Dec 2010) then he should do so otherwise the “sleaze” accusations can justifiably go on. OK – memories slip when you are 78 but, if you want an £85K job like this P&CC one, then you should have cleared your decks first.

  8. milinovak says:

    My concern as someone who used to have this man as an MP, and is now likely to end up with him as my police commissioner, is his close association with Asil Nadir, now finally serving a lengthy prison term for fraud etc. Mates wasn’t just a friend, but a close associate and supporter, even after Nadir had fled to Cyprus. I cannot understand how someone with such faulty judgement and such contempt for the law can possibly be considered suitable to occupy a position with control over the police force. Surely this is much more serious than a minor offence committed as a young teenager, which has disbarred several other candidates from standing.

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