Conservative candidate defends Airbnb rental

Crawley Hill in Camberley
The property in Camberley was listed as an Airbnb rental [Google]

A Conservative candidate has defended renting an Airbnb property in Michael Gove's former constituency where he is standing.

A post by Surrey Heath candidate Ed McGuinness prompted criticism on social media when he posted about becoming a “resident” of the area.

He posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday that he was “now a resident of St Paul’s ward” but others pointed out the home was an Airbnb rental.

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

A community note, which adds additional context to posts on X, was subsequently added to the bottom of his post.

The rental listing has since been removed from Airbnb.

The post showed photos of Mr McGuinness holding keys by a front door and standing in a kitchen.

He said: “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 pointed out that Mr McGuinness is listed as a Putney resident on his nomination papers.

There is no requirement for candidates in a general election to live in the constituency they represent.

Other constituency candidates for Labour, The Green Party, Reform UK and The Heritage Party were all contacted by the BBC.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Surrey Heath, Al Pinkerton, said: “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."

Mr McGuinness said: "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."

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