Frequently Asked Questions: MPs

For an overview of information about MPs, visit About Parliament: MPs

How many MPs are there in the House of Commons?
There are currently 646 MPs.

About MPs: Alphabetical list of MPs
About Parliament: Contacting your MP


How many MPs are there in each party?

About MPs: Current State of the Parties


How many male MPs are there?
There are 519 male MPs.

About MPs: Current list of male MPs


How many female MPs are there?
There are 126 female MPs.

About MPs: Current list of female MPs


Who was the first woman MP?
Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the House of Commons, in 1918. However she did not take her seat, in protest against Britain's policy in Ireland. The first woman to be elected and take her seat was Viscountess Nancy Astor in 1919.

Commons Library Factsheet: Women in the House of Commons: women MPs by date of election

Who was the first woman Minister?
Margaret Bondfield - appointed Under Secretary in the Ministry of Labour in 1924.

Glossary: Minister
Commons Library Factsheet: Women in the House of Commons


Who is the Speaker of the House of Commons?
The Speaker is Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

About Parliament: The Speaker
Commons Library Factsheet: The Speaker: Speakers of the House of Commons since 1700


Who is the Father of the House?
The Father of the House (the MP with the longest unbroken service) is the Rt Hon Alan Williams MP.

Glossary: Father of the House
Commons Library Factsheet: The Father of the House: Fathers of the House since 1874


Who is the oldest MP?
The Rt Hon Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim, born on 6 April 1926.

Members information: Biography of the Rt Hon Ian Paisley (external site)


Who is the youngest MP?
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, age 27.

What is the average age of an MP?
Following the general election of 2005, the average age of an MP was 50.6

Commons Library Note: Social Background of MPs: ages of MPs elected at general elections


How many MPs are from ethnic minorities?
There were 15 MPs elected at the 2005 general election from an ethnic minority.

Commons Library Note: Social Background of MPs: ethnicity of MPs elected at general elections since 1992


When did MPs first get an annual salary?
1911. The first annual salary was £400.

Commons Library Factsheet: MPs' Pay, Pensions and Allowances: MPs' pay since 1911


What is the annual salary of an MP?
£64,766 as of 1 April 2009

Commons Library Factsheet: MPs' Pay, Pensions and Allowances

Do MPs pay tax on their salary?
Yes. MPs pay the same rates of taxation and National Insurance as any other employed person.

Commons Library Factsheet: MPs'  Pay, Pensions and Allowances


Do MPs have to pay the congestion charge?
Yes. There is no exemption for MPs.


Can MPs claim allowances?
Yes. MPs can claim allowances to cover, for example, staff costs, travel expenses and the cost of running an office.

Commons Library Factsheet: MPs' Pay, Pensions and Allowances
Members' allowances: 2006-07


How much does the Prime Minister get paid?
The Prime Minister has been entitled to a salary of £197, 689 (including MP's salary of £64,766) from 1 April 2009.  The current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has elected not to take the pay rise for 2009-10 either in his ministerial or parliamentary salary.

Glossary: Prime Minister
Commons Library Factsheet: Ministerial Salaries


How much do Cabinet Ministers get paid?
Cabinet ministers have been entitled to a salary of £144,520 (including MP's salary of £64,766) from 1 April 2009.  Current ministers have agreed not to take the pay rise for 2009-10, either in their ministerial or parliamentary salaries.

Glossary: Cabinet
Commons Library Factsheet: Ministerial Salaries: salary entitlement for Ministers since 1965


How much do Select Committee Chairmen get paid?
£79,132 (including MP's salary of £64,766) from 1 April 2009.

Glossary: Select Committees
Commons Library Factsheet: Departmental Select Committees

How much does the Speaker get paid?
The Speaker is paid at exactly the rate of a cabinet minister, namely £141, 647 (including MP's salary of £63,291).

About Parliament: The Speaker
Commons Library Factsheet: The Speaker


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'.

Glossary: Short Money
Commons Library Note: Short Money: current levels


Do MPs have their own pension scheme?
Yes they do - a final salary scheme with a current accrual rate of 1/40th. It is a contributory pension with the contribution rate set at 10 per cent of salary.

Commons Library Factsheet: MP's Pay, Pensions and Allowances