When people talk about MPs' time in London they might think of second homes in the capital - but one Powys MP has begun his life in parliament by bunking at his cousin's home.

Rather than shacking up in a Mayfair penthouse, the new Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr MP Steve Witherden instead chose to “bunk” at a family member's in the capital, following his historic triumph in last week’s General Election.

Mr Witherden, from Wrexham, won the seat – which welcomed 20,000 new voters thanks to the 2023 review of Westminster constituencies, adding in areas of Wrexham County Borough – with 12,709 votes, nearly 4,000 more than runner-up Oliver Lewis, of Reform UK.

He garnered just shy of 5,000 more votes than predecessor Craig Williams, whose campaign for re-election went into a tailspin after he became embroiled in a betting scandal.

Following his historic victory – it is the first time Montgomeryshire has ever voted in a Labour MP – and with the new Parliament being called to meet next Tuesday, July 9, Mr Witherden has been spending this week bedding into his new surroundings.

“A fantastic first day at Westminster yesterday,” Mr Witherden said, in a post on Twitter (X) on Tuesday.

“Special thanks to my cousin for letting me bunk at her place for my first week.”

He accompanied his post with pictures of himself at the Houses of Parliament, as well as a video of his early-morning commute into central London, in which he admitted feeling nervous.

“Just leaving Dulwich to go and get the bus to Westminster for the first time,” he said.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but looking forward to the day ahead.”

He added: “I’m still learning my way around but I’m eager to get to work for the people of Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr.”

Sadly he also confirmed on Wednesday that he had suffered a bereavement which was delaying his responses to inquiries.

Trend reversed

Labour MP for Yardley Jess Phillips brought her VW camper van to sleep in when she first came down from Birmingham to take up her Westminster seat in 2015.

Ex-soldier turned Conservative Plymouth Moor View representative Johnny Mercer had a small motor cruiser – bought with money from his military retirement – towed up to London and moored in a marina to use as his overnight digs.

Times have changed

The good news for Mr Witherden is he is not alone. More than half the new intake of MPs are completely new to the Commons.

MPs received a white enveloped from the Returning Officer as soon as they were declared the winner at their individual constituency counts. It contained a welcome letter from the clerk of the House of Commons and an information booklet about what to do when they first arrive.

A map was one of the key tools handed out to help navigate the maze that is Westminster’s corridors – which stretches over 8 acres, has 100 staircases, more than 1,000 rooms and 3 miles of passages – alongside information about new laptops and how to hire staff.

Another letter set out information about pay, pensions, expenses and guides to staff payments.

MPs are also being offered panic alarms, in a symbol of how security concerns have grown in recent years.

All MPs are given security passes and offered a key for a locker, which could be their effective office for a month or maybe more; in 2010, 59 per cent of new MPs waited 5 weeks or more for an office.