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Labour asked all these questions in Crewe and Nantwich and the class war was rejected.

All v interesting but not politically important.

It's a thoroughly good thing as far as I'm concerned.

Tony Makara's Loyal Apprentice:

I'd be grateful if you didn't use a name based on another person's real identity.

I agree with Sammy Finn, interesting but not important. There isn't much resentment for people who have earned their own wealth.

There is a fair amount of wealth on the Lib Dem and Labour benches too.

In a word No and it is none of our business!

The term millionaire doesn't allow for inflation - someone with a million pound value is wealthy, but not really rich these days, multi-millionaires are rich, a senior cabinet minister saving most of their earnings from their job these days will become a millionaire, and someone working in the upper echelons of the Civil Service.

I do think it is important. These people are likely to be running the country in a couple of years time. If they are good with their own finances and a success, I hope they will be equally good with those of other people and help make the country as a whole more of a success.

In almost every case they are proof that hard work brings reward - and rather than get even richer as they could no doubt easily do outside politics, they've decided they want to serve. I admire that.

As long as we get rid of this corrupt, lying, cheating, incompetent, traitorous Nulab government and the Horrible Bottler Brown,,, I don,t care if the Tory front benchers are poor, rich, black, yellow or white, man or woman.

In my eyes if you hate the freedom stealing socialists as much as I do and want to send them back to the sewer they crawled out of then it doesn,t matter to me who or what you are because it will be a pleasure to stand along side you and fight them.

One of the reasons Labour is in such difficulties is that the overwhelming majority of its Cabinet & senior ministers seem to emanate from the same student-intern/researcher-think tank policy wonk-junior backbencher box in the cellar and have, by an large, never run anything more important than the student union beer kitty. Few of them have had responsibility in the real world for managing other human beings or for the problems of creating and sustaining a successful business.

They thus come to the business of ordering our lives having only ever thought about the problems much as a cat views a goldfish in a goldfish bowl.

It must, surely, be better that we have a good leavening in Cabinet of those who have hands on experience of the problems of real business and managing real people.

It is for them to achieve a sensible balance between how much time they give to their portfolios and how much to their extra-mural activities. if they fail to give enough time now to their briefs, they will quickly be found out in office and will then have more than enough time for their own affairs from the backbenches.

Labour used at one time to have a fair number of people who had either run a significant trade union (and that does involve, whatever our prejudices might make us think) managing real people in real jobs or had themselves a business background (though it has always been a puzzle why any businessman would feel inclined to the Labour Party in the first place). After WW2 many had held commissions in the forces. Those days are now long gone and they have been almost entirely replaced by the likes of Miliband Major & Miliband Minor who have followed the policy-wonk route into public life.

This must be the least experienced cabinet in modern times and it shows.

The election at Crewe & Nantwich might also suggest the days of voter envy are in the past and that they are ready to back people who have done something with their lives.

It would be a terrible day for Parliament and for the country if we only had professional politicians in place and those with outside interests were effectively discouraged or excluded.

That we have a lot of successful entrepreneurs who have also served their time at the political mast is surely to be welcomed.

One thought is that this is perhaps a reflection of the changes wrought by the Thatcher years. The old Tory patricians are largely gone to be replaced by those who took advantage of the economic turn-around which 1979-1990 brought about. The party thus has a more meritocratic appearance (though the selection process has since 2005 has gone through some uneven patches: the A-List was distinctly unmeritocratic though it has doubtless thrown up some good prospects for the future) than it perhaps did thirty years ago - though that is to view the past through a distinctly modern telescope.

We ought to avoid like the plague selecting PPCs who are professional politicians through and through. The paucity of real ability on the Labour Frontbench ought to be a warning to all. That the highly over-rated Burnham or Purnell could be thought of as possible PMs ought to be a cautionary tale.

I would like to think that the British public are sensible enough to see the difference between inherited and earned wealth. What harm can there be in using people with an innate sense for success and good planning to influence the institutions of our country? Very few people make their fortune by nothing other than blind luck.
Furthermore, I hope it will dispel the 'landed gentry' image of the party some still hold.

Charles, Elphicke, you pinched my post!. I agree totally with you on this.

Didn't Cameron inherit?

Encouraging to see, though. We need more rich people in politics, because their financial independence means they aren't reliant on their political salary. In addition, as people here have said, it suggests a level of high competence and understanding of the world.

Makes them less likely to mess around with dodgy mortgages and corrupt Italian politicians too.

It'd be interesting to see a table of how they made their money.

(Sorry, just seen Fraser Nelson's link, ignore my final point.)

It certainly puts into sharp relief Osborne & Cameron's decision to bilk the taxpayer for *their* mortgage payments.

Lots of millionaires = will resent almost half their earnings being confiscated by the government = more likely to abolish the top rate of tax = good thing.

If they're millionaires they're also less likely (one hopes) to make use of expense allowances.

My father's response was "No it doesn't matter unless they made their money based on their own effort unlike Labour MPs who make it from everyone else. The problem with Labour MPs is hardly any of them have had any experience running any commercial enterprise".

It is noteworthy that both of our Treasury team are at the top of the wealth list. Perhaps Nick Herbert would be better working alongside George Osbourne so that there's a common touch?


This just highlights what what we're missing in government; successful individuals with real world experience.

Not a bunch of crypto-Marxist social workers with no experience of the real world and no track record or history of success in a competitive and cut-throat environment.

I hope they get even richer.

Does it matter that the net worth of most of the Shadow Cabinet is less than 6 months pay for some of the footballers who grace the back pages of the News of the World? Not really.

It matters more that they made their money by honest toil, if they didn't have the good fortune to inherit a substantial sum. Given that many people either make a tidy sum from their enterprise or inherit some wealth it is reassuring that some choose to enter into public service.

Anybody who bought a house in the early nineties ought to have amassed a reasonable amount of "wealth" over the last 10-15 years. However, if those are second homes purchased with parliamentary allowances, they will be subject to 40% Capital Gains Taxes and I wonder if that future liability is factored into the figures? I also wonder how loud the bleating will be when seat-losing MPs in 2010 find they have lost money on their London homes as many Tories did in 1992?

Personally, I think it is heartening that our top team has the nouce to make money, especially that some of the non-stars, like Jeremy Hunt, have done so, clearly in business, before going into politics.

It is absolutely wrong for MPs - back-benchers or even opposition shadow ministers - to be barred from having outside employment. In Government, that is different, but our parliamentarians must be in touch with the real world. If outside employment is banned, then, logically, they ought to be also banned from sitting Pension Fund or Charity Trust Boards, Quangos etc. Clearly that is nonesensical.

"Does it matter that 19 of 29 shadow cabinet ministers are millionaires?"

Can they give me some?

For me, the only concern would be about those millionaires who then choose to milk the MP's allowance system to the full "because they can" rather than because they actually need to in order to perform their role as an MP.

For millionaire Cameron to go even further and propose a deeper trough for MP's snouts, the extension to state funding of political parties shows an all too common greed for self-gain at taxpayers expense.

"Fill your boots" does seem to be the MP's motto on both sides of the House.

I would have thought Alan Duncan would be worth at least £20m? Theresa May worth £1.7m? Clearly, those breast-revealing tops and leopard-skinned high heels are paying off...

I was not surprised to see my MP Hammond at No.2 on the wealth list. Our local paper reported that he had been cleared of allegations of failing to declare dividends of £2.7 million from a property company. The paper also carried an article from him about the evils of inflation, in which he mentioned that MPs had (graciously) agreed to a pay increase of just 2%. Doesn`t sound much, but that is £1200 on their basic salary - OAPs would just love an increase like that.

The paper printed a response from me, asking our MP to spare us the homilies, and ended, does he really need the 2% rise?

No further comment.

Not really. But I would hope that people as wealthy as this would not feel the need to claim for every Parliamentary expense going and God help them if they ever claim for anything to which they're not entitled.

It could result in the cabinet being out of touch (with fellow MPs and the majority of the electorate) on economic issues IF they let it.

It is interesting that the class warfare evil top hatted toff tactic employed by Labour in London and Crewe no longer pushes the traditional buttons. It could be a Dragon's Den effect where success, measured in money, is celebrated as a good thing.

Can we commission a series called Quango's Den where the objective is to create the most utterly pointless organisation at maximum price for minimum useful outcome? Naturally, the money on offer would be our money and the panel of the institutionally inept would be appointed via the 'jobs' section of the Guardian.

Very encouraging we don't want a government run by losers !

I suspect most of these people have given up a lot of earnings to be in politics. I salute them and all MPs for their public service.

A million pounds will buy you half of a semi-detached house in a not too salubrious part of Bayswater. This is a non story. Neverthe less Alan Duncan must be worth more than £2 mill and how can Nick Herbert be worth zero?

I think Felicity you must be incredibly naive to believe that or are you a part of the Westminster gravy train?

I'm not Malcolm but most Conservative MPs lose money when they enter politics. I don't say we should feel sorry for them because they make a voluntary choice but I'm sure it is the case. It probably isn't the case for Labour MPs.

We should be celebrating wealth (whether inherited or self-made) and success, not allowing the crypto-socialists behind the NotW to denigrate it. I'd much rather have a successful businessman running the country than a jumped-up social worker who's spent her entire life sucking at the taxpayer's tit.

i should just like to echo the words of my loyal apprentice in saying that it really does not matter whether a minister is a millionaire or a bone fide proletarian. what counts is having the ability to do the job, the vision to come up with original thinking and most importantly the character to question the collective decisions of cabinet as and when those decisions are deemed to be counter productive. after eleven years of kow-tow cabinet we now need a government that can balance the team ethic with accountability.

"In a word No and it is none of our business!"

I don't see how you make that out, Sally. We are proberbly about to have these people lead us (all of us from prince to pauper), and pay them even more money than they already have for doing so.

Of course it matters who our leaders are, and how weathly they are


Ok Comstock - how much are you worth?

Oh, you don't want to tell me... That's a bit of a surprise and I am sure you will be equally surprised when I tell you I'm not going to say how much I'm worth either!



Sally said "Ok Comstock - how much are you worth?"

Very little I can assure you. Since you ask I'm a mature student who lives on the student loan and the odd holiday job (at minimum wage)

Before that I was a temp (also on minimum wage). I have no savings and a 15 year old car I am about to take to the scrappers as soon as the breakdown cover expires.

That enough for you?


It would be interesting to see how the wealth of senior Labour ministers and their families has increased over the passed 10 years.

I'd rather people 'went in' rich rather than came out wealthy as you would at least know that no taxpayers were hurt in the process.

Well, if Villiers is worth nil, then for God's sake keep her away from the Treasury.

Theresa has probably given all her money over to the Greek-Cypriot lobby groups (-:

This is a bit disappointing.

First of all, the News of the World figures are clearly wrong and misleading and the Editor shouldn't have listed them as if they are facts. As the story explains NofW based this primarily on publicly available information, which necessarily skews everything, e.g. you don't know how much these properties are mortgaged for, you don't know what people have in their bank and trading accounts and you don't know what non-publicly-listed companies are worth.

Someone like Michael Gove -who doesn't have rich parents and who worked as a journalist his entire life before becoming an MP- is unlikely to really be worth £1 million. He owns a house in London --but if he sells it, he still needs to pay off the mortgage and live someone there else. So this money isn't liquid. His net value is well below a million. By any stretch, someone like that can't be described as a "millionaire."

On the other hand, some others are clearly worth a lot more. Alan Duncan, for example (who doesn't have children to support). NofW claims, without evidence, that his key assets are his properties. Well, in fact Mr Duncan could have -and probably does have- millions invested in brokerage accounts. I think Duncan is worth a multiple of the £2.1mm he is said to have. Wouldn't be surprised it's five times that.

Same story for Oliver Letwin, who has been working basically full-time at Rothschild's for 20 years. He must be worth at least one or two million more, even if he needs to support a family and this is expensive in London.

And so on.

So, the actual numbers should be taken with a large grain of salt and certainly should not have published in the way the Editor published them, i.e. as fact.

Even so, this list shows that most members of the Shadow Cabinet are well off and financially secure, but not wealthy. Given the very high cost of living in London, you really can't be said to be wealthy until your liquid wealth (money tied up in your primary residence really doesn't count) is at least £5 million. By the standard, there are probably no more than 3 or 4 members of the Shadow Cabinet who are really wealthy.

In any event, it is a good thing, obviously, for our politicians to be well off. For centuries, one couldn't enter public life before becoming independently wealthy because political life didn't pay a salary and one didn't want to be beholden. These are the classical, Roman standards, and they are quite appropriate.

So, most of the top Tories have done exactly what one is supposed to do -- and we can only applaud their efforts and successes.

But most of them would have done much better financially if they had never entered public life. Let's not forget that.


What matters is whether they have Conservative ideas: the centrality of the married mum & dad family for society; law n order (i.e. tough on criminals & terrorists etc rather than on the general population as ID cards and Labour's ideas to snoop on everyone's emails and phonecalls would be); the nation state as opposed to encroachment of international bodies (EU and UN etc); smaller state...

Justin, she's fairly recently been divorced - the truth is she's probably had to give most of it to her ex-husband! :-(

Comstock of course it is and I didn't mean to be rude!
I was simply making the point that I was brought up not to discuss how much either you or anyone else was worth - it simply wasn't the done thing!
One or two of those in the list are personal friends and - you may find this odd - but I actually find it quite embarrassing to read about how much money they have!

These are all pretty small numbers. Nobody's really wealthy unless they can bankroll a military coup.

And since I'm bound to be asked: I reckon I'm good for at least a couple of tanks. Would anyone like to form a syndicate?

And why is Osborne the shadow chancellor? Does anyone know?

I don`t mind how rich these people are, just as long as they don`t lecture us about finance.

Surprised Dame Pauline Neville-Jones wasn`t included. I believe she made a quick £350,000 on an investment of £50,000 when defence firm QinetiQ was floated on the Stock Exchange. Perhaps that is just peanuts.

Why could I never back the Tories ? Because it includes members (like John F in Aberdeen) who can use terms like "Horrible Bottler Brown" to describe the PM, and urges him to "get back to the sewer". I'd rather not work with these still very "nasty" Tories !

"Roberts" - you're not my ex-husband are you?!!! ;-)

Sally said "Comstock of course it is and I didn't mean to be rude!"

No offence was meant and none has been taken :)

"I was simply making the point that I was brought up not to discuss how much either you or anyone else was worth - it simply wasn't the done thing!"

I too know the values you are talking of and in many ways they are preferable to the 'if you've got it flaunt it' attitude of many super-rich celebs of today.

However we are not talking about anyone, here, we are talking about the people we are going to choose to lead us, that are going to pass laws that will affect every aspect of our lives.

Aren't we entitled to know a little about them?

Morning Comstock! :-) That's a fair point I concede and perhaps it may put one or two people off taking up a political career?

Morning Comstock! :-) Yes I guess you're right although I think it will put one or two people off taking up a political career as a result. Whether or not that is a good thing of course is a moot point ...

Sorry for the almost duplicated double post - Typepad went very peculiar on me....!!

Some of these numbers look suspiciously low. Surely Theresa Villiers as an ex-MEP is entitled to a generous pension? In fact all these people are entitled to generous taxpayer-funded pensions: why isn't the capital value of their pension pots added in? That would push up the numbers a lot.

Much of the money seems to have been/stands to be inherited or made by buying property in London (although there are notable exceptions).

Whether someone is worth £1m or £100m is not the point. The point is that Labour and their friends in the media are taking the politics of envy onto another level after its failure in London and Crewe. As we debate this, ex-Shipley MP, Chris Leslie is drawing up plans to ban MPs from having other jobs or outside interests.

Leslie, himself someone who went straight from University to working for the Labour party and then into parliament and a job as a minister in his 20s, wants to put us on a path to full-time, career politicians.

If MPs aren't allowed to earn money outside of politics, successful entrpeneurs and business people may not want to run. This is Labour's plan to try and bring down the talent level to that in their party.

I'd rather have people in government who know how to create successful businesses than whining social workers and po faced Human Resources parasites.

It's central to Conservative principles.
It doesn't mean everyone has to have a lot of money, however, and as long as people understand the pressures others are under, it is a thoroughly good and, indeed, essential thing. It pays for your local hospital down the road.

The very wealth are by nature selfish and greedy, of course it matters. Do these 19 millioniares know what its like to go without, not to be able to meet there bills, of course not. We do not want people running the country who have no idea what its like to have to budget to ensure one lives within there means.

"The very wealth are by nature selfish and greedy,"
How do you work that out? You might say that they get that way by knowing how to look after the pennies.
Would you level this charge at those millionaires who voluntarily set up philanthropic foundations?
This idiocy and empty envy is a curse on society that usually reflects itself not in improving oneself but spending one's energy on undermining others.

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