Their joint family wealth as a couple has been estimated at £30 million. ‘It’s guesswork. Unbelievable. It’s extraordinary. Look, we own a very nice house in London, and a house in the constituency on which we have a mortgage. Other than that we both earn good money and we have some savings. But I don’t want to give you a figure because that will be blasted all over the papers. You know where I work. You know my salary. It’s all public. I don’t have any outside earnings. I am very happy for anyone to do the maths.’ Let’s do that, then…
The house in north Kensington is worth about £2 million and is mortgage-free. The one in Witney, Oxfordshire, would sell for about £1 million. He earns £131,000 a year plus allowances as Leader of the Opposition, and Samantha is thought to earn about three times that as creative director of Smythson. Even with a very conservative estimate of savings, stocks and shares, their worth must exceed £4 million (before any inheritances).
They will never have to worry about not having enough money for food or a roof over their head – so why should the taxes of those who do have such worries be used to pay the mortgage interest on this multi-millionaire’s second home?
‘Because as an MP you need to live in two places, and there is an expenses system for that. By the way, I caused future prime ministers, whoever they may be, not to be able to claim income on a second home. That was my act, I said it needed to happen.’
Wouldn’t it be a grand, healing gesture – and a vote winner – if he offered to serve as Prime Minister without pay?
‘I couldn’t actually.’
He’s joking, surely?
‘No. I have a salary as an MP. But I don’t have any other income.’