We’d set this as a quiz question before discovering that we didn’t all agree on the answer. Leap years weren’t the problem. It was the question of when should we start counting someone’s time as an MP from: the declaration of the result or on taking your seat?
The latter has a formal appeal to it as the starting point. But the former is in practice what we do. Those elected at a general election, for example, are called MPs straight from their election. We don’t call them MPs-elect or similar until they take their oath.
But here’s a tougher, and more fun, one.
Was Joseph Ormond Andrews (1872-1909) an MP and if so, for how many days?
Joseph Ormond Andrews won a by-election at Barkston Ash in October 1905, gaining the seat from the Tories. Parliament was not sitting at the time and he never got round to taking his seat in Parliament. At the 1906 election, the Conservatives regained Barkston Ash from Andrews, one of the few Unionist gains at that Liberal landslide election.
Is the answer to this one therefore “yes, and zero”?