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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

153 MPs are landlords: how many from tomorrow?

An analysis by The Guardian newspaper shows that 153 MPs from the last Parliament declared an income from renting out at least one property this year. 

That shows a dramatic rise from the number who declared just before the 2010 election - 117. 

Amongst the landlord-MPs are Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and housing minister Brandon Lewis. The newspaper says most of the 153 are Conservatives including nine cabinet ministers. 

Brandon Lewis lets out a property in Essex, according to the register. The Guardian claims that three years ago - during the MPs’ expenses scandal - “he was criticised for renting out his own home in his Great Yarmouth constituency while renting another, allowing him to claim parliamentary expenses. He said the arrangement saved the taxpayer money because he was paying less in rent than he would have paid in London.”

Two shadow ministers have also declared themselves to be landlords. They are Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy - who refused to comment to The Guardian when asked for a quote - and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham. The paper notes about Burnham that “during the expenses scandal it was revealed that he bought a flat in south London with some help from the public purse. He defended his expenses, saying that he has consistently underclaimed.”

In the register of members’ interests MPs must declare rental income of more than £6,700 a year. 

A Conservative spokesman told The Guardian: “Official statistics show that rents have fallen in real terms in this parliament. Conservatives are increasing investment in new build private rented accommodation, clamping down on bad practice by the small minority of rogue landlords, and strengthening consumer protection. And we are supporting renters who want to step up to home ownership through our Help to Buy scheme.”

A Labour party spokesperson told the newspaper that the rules are set independently by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. “It is right for IPSA to decide their scope and MPs to abide by them,” she said.

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