How many houses does Cameron own?

10:20 am - May 28th 2009

by Don Paskini    

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According to Johann Hari:

A few days ago, the Lader of the Opposition was asked how many homes he owns. “I own a house in North Kensington and… in the constituency in Oxfordshire and that is, as far as I know, all I have,” he said.

He then started to get confused, said he might own four homes after all, and pleaded: “Do not make me sound like a prat for not knowing how many houses I’ve got.”

Are there any other sources for this?

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments

About the same as Blair.

2. Simon Leonard

From The Times –

“I don’t mean it like that, but…” So how many properties do you own? “I own a house in North Kensington which you’ve been to and my house in the constituency in Oxfordshire and that is, as far as I know, all I have.”

A house in Cornwall? “No, that is, Samantha used to have a timeshare in South Devon but she doesn’t any more.” And there isn’t a fourth? “I don’t think so – not that I can think of.” Please don’t say, “Not that I can think of.” “You might be… Samantha owns a field in Scunthorpe but she doesn’t own a house…”

The rest of the interview was punctuated with Cameron’s nagging anxiety about how this exchange was going to make him sound: “I was wondering how that will come across as a soundbite”; “‘Not that I can think of’ makes me sound… I am really worried about that…”; “I am still thinking about this house thing”; and his parting shot was: “Do not make me sound like a prat for not knowing how many houses I’ve got.”

Oh don’t be so harsh on him. You know, I can never remember how many bananas I’ve got left until I get back home.

Thanks 🙂

I think more people should know that the Leader of the Tory Party doesn’t know how many houses he owns. I seem to remember something similar proving to be of great public interest in the recent American elections.

5. Simon Leonard

I’m mostly intrigued about the field in Scunthorpe, how did that happen?

What an apposite blog.

I mean, nearly half the Cabinet have broken tax law. But I can see this is far more important.

There are some bad contributors on this site. But Paskini has done it, he stands out as the worst. The least rigorous, the least relevant and even the least insightful.

If tax law has been broken, that’s important. But do you seriously think a guy who doesn’t know how many houses he has can be in touch with the needs, aspirations, and struggles of the general populace? No wonder he wants to cut surestart, tax credits, ema, etc.

Err, he doesn’t want to cut tax credits, its Tory policy specifically not to.

There is no evidence that Cameron is more out of touch than anyone else in positions of privilige. Certinaly a lot less than a PM who doesn’t apply his own VAT cut in the Downing St shop because “it’s not worth it.”

James, can you confirm that Cameron would no longer fund his marriage allowance policy (giving middle-class couples where one partner can afford not to work an extra £20 a week) from existing tax credits, then? If so where’s he getting the cash from?

Oh, and there is evidence that Cameron is more out-of touch than other elected representatives (if that’s who you mean by people in positions of privilege) – it’s above, where he says he doesn’t know how many houses he’s got.

Hi James,

Glad to see this has touched a nerve.

Humour me for a moment. Supposing Gordon Brown had said in an interview that he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. Would you think that was irrelevant and unimportant?

I am informed that tax credits are not being cut.

As for where the money is from that is a big and complicated one. Considering the implausible spending the government have already committed us to nailing down one spending commitment is missing the issue really.


I partly take it back, your previous post on democratic inclusion was good. The other before that about Tory economics was really naff though. And this is still a small thing considering what’s going on.

I think it would depend on the context: if Brown couldn’t remember about some crofter’s cottage next to the Manse it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Considering how members of the Cabinet have repeatedly said about how they didn’t know about their receipts/didn’t know what they were claiming for/ didn’t have time to look after taxpayers money I think this counts as relatively minor absent-mindedness.

Firstly, how can a bloke run a country if he doesn’t even know how many houses he owns? Perhaps because he’s got so many, or because his estates are so big he looses count of how many he has on the land.
Secondly, why is he so unsure? I’d imagine that his vast estates, and those of his wife, may not go down too well with voters, especially as he’s trying to present himself as the mate of the everyman, Dave Cameron, innit?

Is he dishonest or incompetent?
Sad how even this decends into party squabbling, when it’s clear that the Tories are worse and worst and clearly evil. Sorry, did it myself there too. But MOATS, DUCKS, SERVANTS, PHOTOSHOOTS etc. etc. etc.

I’m actually surprised not more is being made of this. It’s a huge gaffe! It nearly killed McCain’s campaign.

16. Richard (the original)

“Supposing Gordon Brown had said in an interview that he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. Would you think that was irrelevant and unimportant?”

I couldn’t care less how many houses he or Cameron own. I just want to be know they’ll be good at running the country.

He’s got more than you, let’s just leave it at that eh?

At a meeting on student funding Mrs Thatcher, Minister for Education, was struggling to understand why students going to a university away from their homes got a larger grant.

“Because they have additional accomodation costs.” said the aide.

“But why don’t their parents just buy them a flat like we did for Carol?” asked Mrs T.

The response from the civil servant is not recorded.

And she didn’t do a bad job of running the country!!!!!!!!

And she didn’t do a bad job of running the country!!

But look how Carol turned out.

21. Simon Leonard

The whole article is worth reading, especially the part when the interviewer questioned him on what contact he’d had with peope from outside his social circle – William Hague doesn’t count.

Cameron really struggles with this and in all honesty, does not come across well over the course of the interview.

Yes – he answered the question so badly he had to send a follow-up email in which he stated that his contact with people from outside his social circle was volunteering carrying an elderly lady’s shopping when he was young (which is not a bad thing, but hardly extensive), his mum being a magistrate, and occasionally popping into the same shops as other people in a “socially-mixed village”. Oh dear…

Thanks for flagging it up. It is clear from the interview itself that Cameron is rather worried about it being quite a major gaffe. So he will think he was lucky. (Compare, for example, Nick Clegg and how many women have you slept with. Trivial/inconsequential, yet a major talking point that week and one which dogged him for months. And the McCain example too).

The interviewer clearly knows it is quite an interesting little exchange but doesn’t want to over-emphasise it.

I suspect this may be less about Cameron getting an easier ride – though momentum and the frame through which events are seen does matter a lot – and perhaps largely about expenses-gate being such a big and almost exclusive focus. (I think this was probably in the Saturday magazine, which would also make it more likely to be overlooked by others, and so many Cameron interviews read pretty much identically, which is what the journalist was complaining about).

Not sure why the Times didn’t think it would make quite an light-hearted news write-up – if they had done that, it would probably have taken off a fair bit.

Oh dear Dave. I know how many houses i own, or rather the bank owns….

I don’t know much about this kind of thing, but presmuably the journalist who did the briefing knows perfectly well that, by publishing what Cameron panickly asked him not to report, he is denying himself this sort of access to the Conservatives in future.

He would surely only have taken this step if he thought the size of the gaffe/story outweighed, in terms of his journalistic future, that closing off of access for the future.

He must be well naffed off that people aren’t running with it as much as they thought it would at the moment, but I think it may be a slow burner. Or maybe, just maybe, the rest of the press aren’t running with it because they don’t want to damage the Tories’ chances seriously?

On a completely unrelated note, I wonder what steps the Camerons and their families have taken to minimise any future inheritance tax payments (e.g. by transferring the ownership of properties from parents to their children).

Good point – it’s possible there were good legal reasons for him not being able to reply definitively about how many homes he has.

Still not a situation most people find themselves in, though it would at least make him look a little less incompetent (though possibly more morally bankrupt).

It seems few read the Mail On Sunday despite Suzanne Moore. There a brilliant report by Hitchens gives a twist of lemon to Cameron’s good fortune. I’ve blogged it in OK

Never mind how many houses he owns, what came out of the piece in the Independent is the Neo Right wing economic policies he is going to push. Truly frightening.

If you are a knuckle dragging right wing moron then no problem. But there are a lot of people who are going to vote Conservative based on the bullshit that the Tories are now softer, nicer people. Not true.

From the Hitchen’s article:

“I did claim even though I am relatively well off because the claim was there ”

“Relatively well-off”? FFS, can’t he just be honest and say “very wealthy”?

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