Whatever the outcome of the election, there is little doubt that May’s is the party of choice for many in the property industry.
An analysis of data published by the Electoral Commission and covering the period from 1 January to 24 May this year shows that the Tories raised £3.8m in corporate donations, £1.4m of which came from property companies.
In stark contrast, Labour raised a total of just £260,000 from corporate donations over the period, with only £5,150 coming from property firms. This was also considerably less than the Lib Dems’ figures of £375,000 and £86,120.
Key Tory corporate donors include CC Property – owned by billionaire Said Khoury – which handed over £65,000 to the party, and housebuilder JS Bloor (Services), which provided donations totalling £520,000. There’s nothing surprising about that, you might say. But what is surprising is the number of MPs that have some property interests.
Based on information taken from the Register of Members’ Financial Interests at the time parliament was dissolved, 227 MPs – out of 650 – have some property interests.
The party with the largest number of MPs with declared property interests is the Conservatives (63.4% of MPs), with Labour boasting the second-largest group (25.5%) and the SNP having a surprisingly large number of MPs with a property interests (16 – or 7%). Largely, the interests amount to a single house or flat, but some members of parliament have sizeable property holdings.
Take Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire. He owns a two-bedroom flat at Century Wharf, Cardiff Bay; farmland, a house and buildings near Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire; a farmhouse, a bungalow and farm buildings near Castle Caereinion, Montgomeryshire; and a house, land and buildings near Berriew, Montgomeryshire.
Fiona Bruce - Source: Flickr
The MP for Congleton owns four residential properties in Warrington, Cheshire - she made her most recent purchase in February last year. She also owns four commercial properties in Warrington and one commercial property in Knutsford, Cheshire.
The Tory MP for Scarborough and Whitby owns a farm and three industrial units at Southwood Farm, York. In addition, he has four houses in Teesside, a residential property in North Yorkshire, which is currently being renovated with a view to it being let, and a flat in London.
Most property-owning Labour MPs have an interest in residential property, but Brown, who is the MP for West Ham, has a half share in a commercial property in Munich, Germany, in addition to a quarter share in a rental property in Ambleside, Cumbria.
Norman Lamb - Source: Flickr
The MP for Belfast South, Northern Ireland, has a smallholding farm in County Antrim, a house in Belfast, a flat in London, a holiday house in Glenarriffe, County Antrim, that is currently being refurbished and he is part-owner of Ormeau Health Centre and an adjacent property in Belfast from which rental income is received.
The party saw its number of MPs decimated at the last general election, but Lamb held on to his Norfolk North seat and is listed as one of the lessees of a commercial leasehold property in Norwich (associated with Steele and Co) in addition to two flats in London.
The shadow SNP spokesperson for climate justice who represents the East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency owns a house in South Lanarkshire and five residential and holiday let apartments in Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire.
Then there is Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for Thanet South. He owns a shop and a flat in Medway; a house in Swale and Medway; a house in Swale owned through Mackinlay Ltd, a company in which he has registrable shareholdings; and a business premises in Medway owned by a company called Sha Tin Consulting in which he is also a registered shareholder. Others with significant interests include Fiona Bruce, Lyn Brown and Norman Lamb.
When it comes to registrable shareholdings in property companies, the register throws up a number of interesting listings.
Mims Davies, Conservative MP for Eastleigh, jointly holds shares with her husband valued at more than £70,000 in NewRiver Retail; and Michael Ellis, Conservative MP for Northampton North, owns shares in the UK and US arms of property company Arnold Estates and property investment company MSA Properties.
Declarations of remunerated employment by MPs in relation to work undertaken for property companies also make for interesting reading.
Mark Prisk, Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford, provides regular strategic advice to Essential Living, for which he earns £15,000 to £20,000 per year for an expected commitment of eight hours a month.
And Chris Philp, Conservative MP for Croydon South, declared that he had received £4,000 per calendar year for two hours a month acting as director for BP Balkans Pluto (Cyprus), a company that according to the register undertakes property development and investment in eastern Europe.
The information was up to date as of 18 April, when the prime minister called the election, but the picture may look very different on 8 June, when it is possible that many of the property-owning MPs could lose their seats.