The Top 10: MPs related to unlikely people

John Rentoul

We did a Top 10 MPs related to other MPs in 2014. This list came about because William Cash, the journalist son of Bill Cash, MP for Stone, wrote in The Times about Johnny Cash, the singer, and revealed that they were distant cousins. Thanks to Henry Zeffman.

1. HH Asquith, Liberal prime minister, 1908-16. Great-grandfather of Helena Bonham Carter. Thanks to Allan Holloway.

2. ​Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate. Uncle to Emily Blunt, actress. Nominated by Jonathan Isaby.

3. Frank and Helen McElhone, successive Labour MPs for Glasgow Queen’s Park, 1974-82 and 1982-83 (she succeeded him on his death), parents of Johnny McElhone of Altered Images and Texas. Thanks to Mr Memory.

4. Michael Jopling, chief whip and agriculture minister under Margaret Thatcher, now Lord Jopling. Grandfather of Caspar Jopling, who is married to Ellie Goulding. Mr Memory again.

5. Danny Kinahan, Ulster Unionist Party MP for South Antrim, 2015-17. Cousin of Chris de Burgh. Another from Mr Memory.

6. Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset. Great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Nominated by Jonathan Isaby.

7. David Martin, Conservative MP for Portsmouth South, 1987-97. Uncle to Chris Martin of Coldplay. Another from Jonathan Isaby.

8. Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP for Portsmouth North and former defence secretary. Angela Lansbury is her grandmother’s cousin, which brings us full circle to Angela Lansbury’s grandfather, George Lansbury, MP for Bow and Bromley and leader of the Labour Party, 1932-35. From Jonathan Isaby and Spinning Hugo.

9. Malcolm Rifkind, Conservative former foreign secretary, and Leon Brittan, former home secretary, were related to each other, and to Mark Ronson, the musician. Thanks to Angus Reilly.

10. Grant Shapps, transport secretary and MP for Welwyn Hatfield. First cousin of Mick Jones of The Clash. Thanks to Ian Moss.

Honourable mention for David Boothroyd, who nominated Bob Gillespie, trade unionist and Labour candidate for Glasgow Govan in the 1988 by-election (nearly an MP), father of Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

Next week: Telegrams, such as Dorothy Parker: “This is instead of telephoning because I can’t look you in the voice.”

Coming soon: Favourite foods of fictional people, such as Popeye and spinach.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to

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