The Conservative MP’s taxpayer-funded second property is seemingly rented for twice as much as the average UK wage

“London & metropolitan cities may as well be different countries; they have a different culture. One thats [sic] entirely alien and contradictory to life in working class towns in England.”

These words were Tweeted by Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield, on 7 June this year.

Elected to Parliament in the 2017 General Election, Bradley has gained a reputation since entering frontline politics. Carrying the Conservative Party banner on the vanguard of the culture war, Bradley has even recently been chided by Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice King, after he seemed to criticise political campaigns based on the experiences of black and minority ethnic people.

Cultivating a reputation as a representative of the ‘forgotten white working-class’, privately-educated Bradley has also taken on the role of chairman of a parliamentary group called the Blue Collar Conservatives.

However, the 30-year-old appears to be more familiar with the experiences of the metropolitan elite than he would care to admit.

Bradley’s expenses – recorded by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – show that, since April this year, he has claimed £2,621.67 for rent every month. MPs are allowed to claim expenses on a second property if their constituency is not in London, given that the demands of Parliament require them to be in the capital for most of the week.

This is the equivalent of £31,460 a year, which puts his rental expenses in a high bracket among fellow MPs. However, IPSA expenses also show that Bradley is sharing the property with someone else. A £650.23 council tax expense submitted on 6 May for “Ben’s new flat” says that it is a “shared property” and so he is “claiming half of total bill”.

It is fair to assume, therefore, that Bradley is also paying half the rent – which means that the total monthly rental bill for the property is £5,242. That is equivalent to £62,904 a year. The average (median) income in the UK last year was £30,420.

So, what can you afford with this sort of budget, at least half-funded by the taxpayer?

This two-bedroom flat in Mayfair. Photo: Rightmove
This two-bedroom flat, within strolling distance of the Palace of Westminster. Photo: Rightmove
This three-bedroom flat in Marylebone. Photo: Rightmove

The property website Rightmove currently shows that no properties in Mansfield, Bradley’s constituency, are available to rent for as much as the MP’s expenses in London. For just £725 a month, it is possible to rent a four-bedroom detached house not far from Mansfield town centre.

It also appears as though Bradley’s second-property rent has increased significantly in recent years. He claimed £1,600 a month for rent last year and £1,100 a-month in 2018.

Bradley has in the past expressed his foundational opposition to people relying on the generosity of the state. In a 2012 blog post, he wrote that unemployed people should opt for free vasectomies rather than continuing to have children that they could not support without benefits. He said that Britain would be “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters” if they were allowed to freely procreate. Bradley later apologised for the remarks.

On Wednesday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a one-year pay freeze for non-NHS public sector workers – a repercussion of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, in the midst of this economic crisis, one of his MPs has decided not to stand in solidarity with this public restraint. The ‘People’s Government’ indeed.

Ben Bradley did not respond to Byline Times’ request for comment.


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