Political record breakers

Written by Alistair Lamyman on 28 January 2014 in Culture
A cracking policy can make a name, but certain attributes set some MPs head and shoulders above their peers

At nearly 22, Bernadette Devlin was the youngest female MP when she was elected for Mid Ulster in 1969, but today’s ‘Baby of the House’, Pamela Nash was elected a month before her 26th birthday. Bless.

Above the fray
Standing at 6’ 9”, Daniel Kawczynski is not only the tallest MP in the current parliament, but believed to be the tallest MP ever. As we can see from the photo, such stature can give you an advantage when trying to get your message across.

Convention? What convention?
Long before democracy was realised, our PMs were drawn from the aristocracy and those in the Lords. We later shifted to those from the Commons. But for 20 days one November, Alec Douglas-Home was PM despite being in NEITHER house. A first, and hopefully a last.

Oh, the expense(s)
Following the 2009 expenses scandal, MPs have had their incomings heavily scrutinised. However, that didn’t stop our record breaker spending £232,042 in the past financial year. Dubbed ‘The most expensive MP’, Ian Paisley Jnr puts his lavish expenditure down to “unavoidable costs”.

Try, try again
Arthur Henderson led the Labour Party on three separate occasions, but things weren’t always easy. He breaks the record for the most comebacks, having being returned to parliament four times. A seemingly divisive character if ever there was one.

Sitting pretty
Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, needn’t worry about his seat too much, as he had a record-breaking majority of 27,826 – it’s larger than the UK’s smallest constituency electorate in its entirety. We doubt he’ll be going anywhere soon.

A very long sitting
With an unparalleled love of politics, Winston Churchill served for almost 64 years in the House of Commons, longer than any other 20th century MP. The longest service (73 years) was achieved by Francis Knollys, but there were no cameras around in 1575.

Scaling the heights
As the ranks of MPs quitting Westminster in 2015 stacks up, the bigger names departing parliament are obscuring some of the smaller retirees. Sarah Teather, the soon to be ex-MP for Brent East, is currently Britain’s shortest MP. “I’m 4’ 10” (1.47m) - on a good day, with big hair” she boasts.

Golden oldie
Not only did the country go for Gladstone at the ripe old age of 82, making him the oldest PM to be elected, but his liberal ideals were so valued that he served not one, but four terms in office, an approval rating today’s politicians can only dream of.

How the other half live
Forget ‘wealthy’ Cameron and Osborne – following the release of The Times’ Rich List, at an estimated worth of £110m, Richard Benyon is the richest MP currently in parliament. We’ve all had those days when someone vandalises your fleet of light aircraft…


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