Tory candidate defends renting Airbnb property in prospective constituency

A Conservative Party candidate has defended renting an Airbnb property in his prospective constituency after a social media post about becoming a “resident” of the area prompted criticism online.

Candidate for Surrey Heath Ed McGuinness posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday that he was “now a resident of St Paul’s ward” as constituents “rightly expect their MP to be a part of their community”.

He shared photos of himself holding keys in front of a front door and standing in a kitchen.

However, social media users claimed the home was listed on property rental site Airbnb and a Community Note was subsequently added to the bottom of the post.

Mr McGuinness told the PA news agency the property was a former Airbnb he was renting and that it had not yet been removed from the site.

He said: “It’s a former Airbnb that I’m now renting while I look to buy.

“To get a place within 100 hours of being selected is a great achievement (if you know an estate agent who can work it out sooner please let me know!) and demonstrates my commitment to Surrey Heath.

“Presumably the landlord had it listed on Airbnb and didn’t immediately remove it as soon as I moved in.”

The listing has since been removed from Airbnb.

In his social media post announcing his new living arrangements, Mr McGuinness said: “Surrey Heath residents, rightly, expect their MP to be a part of their community.

“Well as of today I am now a resident of St Paul’s ward!

“As many of you will appreciate Michael Gove stepped down with a short timeframe to select me and it’s hard to get a place so quickly.

“I’ve said in previous messages my fiance and I were moving in, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be more explicit on timeframes as I didn’t want to jinx it, but now I am so happy to live here and honoured to stand and represent our great residents!.”

The Liberal Democrats have claimed that Mr McGuinness is listed as a resident of Putney in London on his nomination papers.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Surrey Health Al Pinkerton told PA: “First we had Michael Gove running scared, now we have a candidate who has overshot his parachute so much it’s landed in Putney.

“I’d be happy to offer the Conservatives’ Putney candidate a walking tour of our constituency so he can get properly acquainted.

“People across Surrey Heath and more widely across our country deserve so much better than these embarrassing Conservatives who are taking voters for granted.”