BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
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Can you provide a home for an MP?

Michael Crick | 16:19 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Full marks for initiative to Winkworth, the estate agents.

They've been distributing glossy cards to properties in Westminster and Pimlico asking if people want to let their homes to an MP.


Under the new rules drawn up in the wake of the expenses scandal, MPs can no longer use parliamentary allowances to buy a second home. They must claim rent for properties, or for hotel bills.

"Let your home to an MP," reads Winkworth's card.

"The Winkworth MP Service sources high quality rental properties for the hundreds of new MPs now re-locating to London," it says.

"Developed in consultation with recently retired senior MPs from all parties, our exclusive service has already been presented to over 500 MPs in an information pack."

"Since the election, the MP Service has been a great success and we have had a lot of demand from new MPs looking for a property to rent. We now have a shortage of stock to meet this high demand.

"If you are thinking of letting your property, please call 020 7828 1786 for more information or come and see us at 31 Belgrave Road, Pimlico, London SW1V 1RB."

Most people, I imagine, would be horrified at the idea of an MP living in their home.

And yet MPs, surely, are likely to be reliable tenants than most - easy to chase up for rent, and away for much of the year.

Nick Goble of Winkworths tells me they have been distributing their cards in Battersea, Clapham and Kennington as well as Pimlico and Westminster:

"We've had a good response," he says, though he can't say if they've actually fixed any MPs up yet. "They're all under pressure because there's not enough stock."

I took the oportunity to ask what I would get in Kennington for £950 a month. A small one-bedroom flat, Mr Goble said.

That's strange. The former Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws was paying that much for just a bedroom and bathroom in his boyfriend's flat in Kennington.

Which rather suggests Mr Laws may have been overpaying his partner. Or at least he may not quite be the financial wizard that some people are claiming.



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