How many MPs actually live in their constituency?

This entry was posted on
Friday, October 5th, 2007
10:34 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

A big job goes begging….

A few Tories are up in arms over at Chicken Yoghurt, claiming that they’ve been misrepresented by Justin quoting them verbatim and linking to each and every source.

The following thought occurred to me during the early part of that exchange:

… isn’t it about time someone did a fresh study of MPs, showing how many of them live in their own constituency (perhaps with a party-by-party % summary at the end)?

I’m sure I’ve seen studies like this featured in print media in the past… I just haven’t seen one recently.

So, that big job that goes begging is as follows:

1. Locate and collate previous studies of how many MPs actually live in their constituencies (yes, even if it’s only at weekends while Parliament is in session).

2. If no recent study exists, start with this list and draw up a fresh study of how many MPs actually live in their constituencies (yes, even if it’s only at weekends while Parliament is in session). The data should include individual entries for each MP/constituency and the final table should allow users to compare data at least on a party-by-party basis. If you have the capacity, handy extra data-sets to have would include (a) the distance from each constituency to Westminster and (b) the distance the out-of-towners have to travel to get to their constituency and Westminster.

Some detective work and bullshit-dodging will be required; during the 2005 election the then-candidate Anne Milton did not live in Guildford and, as it turns out, had no intention of moving to Guildford. Despite this, the official record (the ballot paper) suggested otherwise at the time, as she had taken out a single-bedroom flat in the area; additionally, her campaign literature made much of the fact that the then-serving MP who *did* live in Guildford had the temerity to be born elsewhere.

Which brings us to…

3. When an election is called (now or later) the data will need to be expanded to take primary candidates into account and, ideally, a central blog/category will need to be created/managed to document campaign literature that disregards and/or plays games with the facts you have in your possession.

This focused project would be an excellent vehicle for an up-and-coming journalist and/or blogger wishing to make their mark. It would also be a valuable tool for the electorate, as the “Are you local?” issue is always a big one and is often a centre of deception in resulting campaign literature.

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