Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs

Dan Whittle investigates the exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs, finding around a quarter of are declared members of London’s Gentlemen’s clubs; in it together?!

Dan Whittle is a member of the Labour party; he has investigated the exclusive club memberships of Conservative MPs

I’ve compiled a list (xls) for Left Foot Forward which for the first time reveals that around a quarter of Tory MPs are declared members of London’s Gentlemen’s clubs. With membership fees beyond the reach of ordinary Britons, the East India, Garrick and Carlton are some of the places Conservative politicians most like to escape the Big Society to join high society.

Sixty eight Tory MPs are declared members of 36 London clubs with bizarre names and rituals such as Pratt’s – an aristocratic club at which all staff members are referred to as ‘George’ to avoid the chore of having to remember their names.

And at least 10 of the clubs Tory MPs belong to don’t allow women.

They boast of access to private libraries, art galleries and swimming pools for members to enjoy, before they venture back to their constituencies to tell the voters why it is essential that local councils are denied funding so that everyone can enjoy these same services.

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State in charge of cutting councils is one of the 27 Tory MPs eligible to enjoy the library at the Carlton, a club which boasts it is the “the oldest, most elite, and most important of all Conservative clubs”. Membership is over £1k (£1,140) per year – but you can bet the Carlton library does not receive as many visits as any of the scores under threat in Britain.

Culture cuts won’t be an issue for members of the Garrick. Its five Tory MP members include Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve, and the sub of £1,000 per year gives access to more than 1,000 works of art.

Cuts to council leisure centres will be no problem to the six Conservative MPs who are members of the Royal Automobile Club which provides access to two 18-hole golf courses, gymanasiums, squash and tennis, “stunning” swimming pools and a Turkish Bath. Whatever the cuts to sport, David Willetts and Edward Garnier will still be able to enjoy tennis, croquet, cricket, bowls, golf, squash and swimming at the Hurlingham Club.

But perhaps no Tory MP enjoys the club lifestyle more than William Hague, who finds time to keep up his membership of six: Beefsteak, Carlton, Buck’s, Pratt’s, Budokwai and Mark’s. Close behind is Nicholas Soames MP with membership of Pratt’s, White’s and Turf; and Brooks Newmark – a member of Beefsteak, Boodle’s, Cresta and White’s.

David Cameron, famously a member of the the Bullingdon Club at Oxford University now reportedly continues to visit White’s, which he was a member of until embarrassment forced him to leave in 2008. Six of his Parliamentary colleagues are still members.

London’s clubs are a part of the capital’s history and character – but it says something that so many Conservatives aspire to spend their free time in a socially exclusive time warp.

It is a reminder that this is a party in denial about its true identity; by day seemingly striving for modernism, at night retreating to the privilege and comfort of an era in which services were accessible only to those who could afford them.

When 250 Sure Start centres are expected to close, when libraries and local bus services are under threat, and when families’ tax credits and child benefit are being cut back it is a level of privilege ordinary Britain will find distasteful. Fortunately these high end clubs often allow their members to bring along guests – so when the local library or swimming pool is to shut, ask the nearest Tory MP if you can be ‘in it together’ with him at his club.

38 Responses to “Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs”

  1. Dan Whittle

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  2. Chris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  3. Shamik Das

    . @DanWhittle investigated the exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs for us; article: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM spreadsheet: http://is.gd/tOWs91

  4. yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  5. Archie Harris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  6. Tony Martin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  7. Shamik Das

    10 – TEN – clubs Tory MPs belong to don’t allow women: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM & http://is.gd/tOWs91 (Thx 2 @DanWhittle)

  8. James

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/g6fe9T

  9. Mark

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/g6fe9T

  10. Mark

    When are they going to close down Guido everyone knows hes liked to right wing tories and funded by right wing Tories
    and as for the comments posted mostly posted by rabid right wingers on coke and strnge sexual intrests
    time to expose whos behind Guido – BIG BUSINESS

  11. Dan Whittle

    My article on Tory privilege dedicated to all out on the #LabourDoorstep today http://t.co/La18J4a @NeilHeavens

  12. Miko Flohr

    Als u wil weten waarom dit land (UK) naar de haaien gaat – http://bit.ly/g0zT7M. #manmanman

  13. Miko Flohr

    "… the places Conservative politicians most like to escape the Big Society to join high society. " http://bit.ly/g0zT7M

  14. Stephen W

    What an absolutely bizarre class-war blogpost. What does it possibly have to do with anything how Conservative MP’s choose to spend their money?

    Yes, lots of Conservative MP’s are rich. Not a big surprise. A lot of Labour and LibDem MP’s are rich as well. You going to do a leering expose on how many Labour MP’s shop at Waitrose next?

    I know actually commenting on factual issues can be tiring sometimes, but there really is no need to descend into this kind of bizarre nonsense.

  15. malcolm

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  16. Robert

    Who cares anymore, I think maybe about ten Labour MP’s can now be called socialist the rest have either joined the Labour party to get jobs or joined labour when they had a job or moved over from the Tories at some time.

    Labour or Tory the differences are getting hard to find these days.

  17. WHAT?!

    Coming next: Expose of which Labour MPs are/were members of Working Men’s Clubs that were also exclusive and sexist.

    ….

    or not…

  18. Anon E Mouse

    Who on earth sanctions this rubbish?

    After seeing John Prescott playing croquet and Ed Miliband travelling First Class but getting his minions to remove that cover from the seat was bad enough but this childish class war stuff shows just how irrelevant the Labour Party has become.

    It’s thanks to the likes of Mark and his tribal ilk above that the party is so despised in the country. When Labour gives knighthoods to the bankers, sucks up to Formula 1 for the donations and stops investigations into the disgusting state, Saudi Arabia, because of arms deals, it’s time to give up.

    Perhaps Mark would care to explain why he thinks it’s OK for a so called working class party to be run by a tax avoiding property owning multi millionaire who has never done a single days work in his life. He didn’t even have a paper round before working for the countess toff Harriet Harman so I really don’t think people like Mark are in any position to start the student politics class war stuff. Grow up please….

  19. Kevin Richards

    Not so much Big Society more like High Society RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/g6fe9T

  20. SlashedUK

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM – Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  21. Dan Whittle

    “@SlashedUK: RT @leftfootfwd: exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://t.co/La18J4a – investigation by @DanWhittle” thanks for RT

  22. Johanna Baxter

    Good job Dan! RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed:The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/ijZtbM Special investigation by @DanWhittle

  23. Ash

    @ Steven W, Anon:

    In fairness, the Tories have placed an awful lot of weight on their ‘all in this together’ rhetoric. It hardly seems unreasonable to challenge that rhetoric by exposing the extent to which many of them exist within a bubble of privilege, insulated from the effects of spending cuts and removed from mainstream society.

  24. Stephen W

    I’m sorry, but that’s just Bull. Labour put vastly more emphasis on their social solidarity, working-class connections than the Conservatives ever have. Same for the LibDems.

    Where are the expose’s of Labour Millionaires. Labour public school boys, Labour politicians’ golf club memberships etc. Tax dodging by Labour politicians.

    They’re not being made because this is a puerile pro-Labour ad hominem. Trying to pretend otherwise is just silly.

  25. Guido Fawkes

    Mark,

    Think it is quite easy to work out who is behind the financing of Guido – the advertisements give it away.

    This place is getting as crazy as Liberal Conspiracy.

  26. Stewart Kirk

    I think it is a very sensible article. It makes no comment on how rich Conservative MPs might be; rather it draws attention to the mismatch between the access a significant number of Tory MPs (including some on the front bench)have to specific cultural and leisure pursuits, whilst they are simulateously presiding over the removal of facilities for the majority of us, whilst stating that we are ‘all in it together’. Regardless of the ‘behaviour’ of any other parties, it seems appropriate to me to draw attention to such a gross disjuncture between the public expressions of government policy and the level of facilities enjoyed by members of the governing party.

  27. A Working Class Lad.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/g6fe9T

  28. Michael Thompson

    RT @Marvscouncil: RT @leftfootfwd: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs http://bit.ly/g6fe9T

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Ash – And how does Ed Miliband, the tax avoiding, First Class travelling multimillionaire, who’s only job was working for the countess toff, Harriet Harman not fall into that category? He was born with a gold spoon in his mouth compared to the rest of us.

    How do the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party not fall into your “bubble of privilege, insulated from the effects of spending cuts and removed from mainstream society”.

    How these Tories choose to spend their own money is surely up to them just as Peter Mandelson was free to choose to go on holiday with Colonel Gaddafi’s son when Labour were in power…

  30. chris star

    Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs
    http://j.mp/ghGdTa

  31. Daniel Pitt

    Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM #ConDemNation

  32. herts socialist

    RT @myinfamy: Revealed: The exclusive club memberships of Tory MPs: http://bit.ly/ijZtbM #ConDemNation

  33. Dr Eldon Tyrell

    I note that the Excel spreadsheet was made using a computer that belongs to the Parliamentary ICT department.

    Surely the author should be compiling research like this in his spare time, rather than using taxpayer funded equipment to make his ludicrous point?

    It’s no wonder Tristram Hunt is such an awful MP when his staff are wasting their time on this nonsense.

  34. In touch?! Backbench Tories grumble over “inadequate” £65,738 salary | Left Foot Forward

    […] reported on the number of Conservatives who are members of these elitist establishments in April: Eric […]

  35. James Savoir

    Dont forget the East India Club-regular haunt of Farage and the late Baroness Thatcher (as a guest of her husband)

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