Parliament has published its register of MPs’ financial interests for the first time since the election.
An analysis by FactCheck shows that 123 MPs earn extra money by renting out homes and private property. Landlord MPs account for almost a fifth of all MPs.
Their properties include houses, flats, farms, holiday cottages and shops. The MPs include chancellor Philip Hammond, foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
The issue of landlord MPs has re-emerged after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Critics say that having a financial stake in the rented property sector could be a conflict of interests.
New MP Laura Pidcock has said: “I think that anyone who is a landlord should not be able to vote on legislation affecting landlords, it is a complete conflict of interest.
“The people of Grenfell Tower have had their concerns repeatedly ignored and it is part of our long history as working class people to have our concerns ignored.”
So who are these landlord MPs? What property do they own? And what impact could they have on housing legislation?
Who are the landlord MPs?
Almost all of the main parties have landlord MPs among their ranks, according to the latest declarations.
The majority are in the Conservative party, but this is not necessarily very surprising since they are also the largest overall party. This graph shows the spread of landlord MPs across parliament, but does not represent which party has the highest proportion.
The graph below shows the percentage of landlord MPs that in each party (we have excluded the Speaker for this).
These figures provide the best picture available about landlord MPs. But it’s not 100 per cent reliable.
For a start, Parliament’s system of registering financial interests relies entirely on MPs’ honesty. Although errors can be reported and changed, there is no independent audit.
Plus, although it can get them in trouble in Parliament, it is not illegal for an MP to not declare a financial interest.
Also, MPs are only asked to declare properties which they earn more than £10,000 a year from. And, of course, their financial interests are likely to change over time, so these figures are only a snapshot.
Finally, we have the question of what counts as being a “landlord”? For our analysis, we have only included declarations specifically listed as “Land and property”, which MPs say they get an income from.
But other MPs have different types of financial interests in the housing sector. For instance, Chris Philp has no landlord declarations, but is a director at a “property development and investment” company that operates in Europe. Likewise, Mims Davies says she owns more than £75,000 of shares in a property investment firm.
Therefore, the true extent of politicians’ financial interests in the housing, rental and development sector is likely to be far broader than the picture painted purely by the number of landlord MPs.
What influence do landlord MPs have?
If MPs have a financial stake in the rented property sector, could this ever be a conflict of interests? If they have to vote on new rules for landlords, are they more likely to vote against them?
Laura Pidcock MP has said: “Of course they won’t vote for further protections for people in their homes and will try to get a way with as little regulation as possible, as they perceive that this will affect their profits.”
This concern is a legitimate one: clearly, there is the potential for a conflict of interests. MP landlords can vote on housing legislation, speak in debates and hold ministerial positions, so long as they declare their interests.
But are MPs actually swayed by their financial affairs in any sizable numbers? Putting figures to this is incredibly hard.
We already know that many (but not all) landlord MPs have been repeatedly criticised for contributing to votes seen as supporting landlords.
Most famously, 72 landlord MPs were among those who voted down requirements on landlords to ensure that homes are “fit for human habitation”.
But how do you decisively prove (or disprove) that MPs are being swayed purely because of their financial interests?
It is not enough to simply compare the voting records between landlords and non-landlords, because that excludes other important factors like political allegiances and whether MPs have been whipped to vote a particular way.
To find out if there is a statistically significant correlation between voting habits and being a landlord, we would need to compare MPs against the rest of their own party in a free vote – where they are not under pressure from party leaders to support a particular side.
A situation like this has not taken place so far this Parliament, nor recently before. So, at the moment, it’s impossible to put a concrete figure on this, though this does not invalidate concerns about the potential.
The full list
Here’s the full list of MPs who have made rental income declarations, as at 7 July 2017. It’s possible that some of these may not be currently active rentals, but the MP has still listed them.
- Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty) – Conservative
- Peter Aldous (Waveney) – Conservative
- Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) – Labour
- Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) – Conservative
- Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle) – Conservative
- Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) – Labour
- John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) – Conservative
- Richard Benyon (Newbury) – Conservative
- John Bercow (Buckingham) – Speaker
- Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen) – Conservative
- Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) – Labour
- Bob Blackman (Harrow East) – Conservative
- Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham) – Labour
- Lyn Brown (West Ham) – Labour
- Fiona Bruce (Congleton) – Conservative
- Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) – Labour
- Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan) – Conservative
- Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) – SNP
- Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) – Conservative
- Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds) – Conservative
- Colin Clark (Gordon) – Conservative
- James Cleverly (Braintree) – Conservative
- Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) – Conservative
- Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) – Labour
- Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe) – Conservative
- Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) – Conservative
- Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon) – Conservative
- Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) – Labour
- Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire) – Conservative
- Philip Davies (Shipley) – Conservative
- Geraint Davies (Swansea West) – Labour
- Richard Drax (South Dorset) – Conservative
- Sir Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton) – Conservative
- Philip Dunne (Ludlow) – Conservative
- Bill Esterson (Sefton Central) – Labour
- George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth) – Conservative
- Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) – Conservative
- Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset) – Conservative
- Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire) – Conservative
- Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest) – Conservative
- Stephen Gethins (North East Fife) – SNP
- John Glen (Salisbury) – Conservative
- Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) – Conservative
- Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald) – Conservative
- James Gray (North Wiltshire) – Conservative
- Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell) – Conservative
- Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) – Conservative
- Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge) – Conservative
- Richard Harrington (Watford) – Conservative
- James Heappey (Wells) – Conservative
- Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon) – Conservative
- Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) – Labour
- Wera Hobhouse (Bath) – Liberal Democrats
- George Hollingbery (Meon Valley) – Conservative
- Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) – Conservative
- Philip Hollobone (Kettering) – Conservative
- Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey) – Conservative
- Nick Hurd (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner ) – Conservative
- Alister Jack (Dumfries and Galloway ) – Conservative
- Margot James (Stourbridge ) – Conservative
- Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove) – Conservative
- Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex ) – Conservative
- Joseph Johnson (Orpington) – Conservative
- Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) – Conservative
- Gillian Keegan (Chichester) – Conservative
- Julian Knight (Solihull) – Conservative
- Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) – Conservative
- Norman Lamb (North Norfolk) – Liberal Democrats
- David Lammy (Tottenham ) – Labour
- Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) – Labour
- Sir Oliver Letwin (West Dorset) – Conservative
- Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth) – Conservative
- Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) – Conservative
- Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet) – Conservative
- Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar ) – SNP
- Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) – Labour
- Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) – Labour
- Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East) – Labour
- Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) – Labour
- David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) – Conservative
- Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) – Conservative
- Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) – Labour
- Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) – Conservative
- Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) – Conservative
- Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) – Conservative
- Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) – Conservative
- Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) – Conservative
- Owen Paterson (North Shropshire) – Conservative
- Mark Pawsey (Rugby) – Conservative
- Claire Perry (Devizes) – Conservative
- Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) – Conservative
- Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) – Labour
- Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford) – Conservative
- Jeremy Quin (Horsham) – Conservative
- Faisal Rashid (Warrington South) – Labour
- Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) – Conservative
- Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) – Conservative
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown) – Labour
- Joan Ryan (Enfield North) – Labour
- Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury) – Conservative
- Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) – Conservative
- David Simpson (Upper Bann) – DUP
- Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon) – Conservative
- Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen) – Conservative
- Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) – Conservative
- Mark Spencer (Sherwood) – Conservative
- John Stevenson (Carlisle) – Conservative
- Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) – Liberal Democrats
- Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) – Conservative
- Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside) – Labour
- Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) – Labour
- Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury) – Labour
- Maggie Throup (Erewash) – Conservative
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) – Conservative
- Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) – Conservative
- Keith Vaz (Leicester East) – Labour
- Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) – Conservative
- Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North) – Conservative
- Giles Watling (Clacton) – Conservative
- Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) – Labour
- John Whittingdale (Maldon) – Conservative
- Dr Paul Williams (Stockton South) – Labour
- Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) – Conservative