By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
The speaker John Bercow has lavished public money on entertaining MPs, himself, but not you.
He spent a colossal two grand on beeswax candles, not exactly a necessity. He also splashed out hundreds of quid on photos of him getting his grand piano tuned.
Bercow put on sumptuous receptions, lunches and dinners at the cost of the tax payer. A one off meal with an Aussie counterpart came to £1,954.
He also has a fondness for postcard-sized photographs of himself that are “sent out on request.”
All of this information was gleaned from a FOI request covering a full-breakdown of his spending over the last three-and-a-half-years.
The Commons said it was unable to supply any information prior to April 2012 – because it has been “destroyed in accordance with the parliamentary records disposal policy”.
His overall annual spending has actually fallen almost twenty percent to £504,000 since he took the role in 2009. Bercow’s spending is not subject to the same rules as other MPs who can’t claim for meals or alcoholic drinks on their expenses.
The Speaker’s spokeswoman said: “The Speaker is committed to cutting costs wherever possible, and the overall expenditure of the Speaker’s Office has fallen during his tenure from £626,029 in 2009-10 to £504,737 in 2014-15, representing a reduction of 19.4% since he was elected to the role.”
Dia Chakravarty, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “No one will begrudge footing the bill for the official functions which the Commons Speaker would reasonably be expected to host, but these costs must be kept under constant review and savings found where possible.
“The fact that records prior to 2012 have already been destroyed – coupled with the need to use Freedom of Information laws to get this data in the first place – will not instil confidence in the public that the Speaker’s Office is run with a culture of transparency and openness.”
Here’s a list of some of his lavish expenditure
- Reception for retiring MPs: £1,700
- Reception for newly elected MPs: £3,000
- Retirement bash for former Deputy Speaker: £2,057
- Tuning of Grand Piano in Speaker’s House: £286
- Dinner with Presiding Officers of Scotland and Wales and the Speaker of Northern Ireland: £651.79
- Beeswax hand-finished candles: £1,947 .
- Dinner in honour of the Australian Speaker: £1954.38
- Meal with the Lithuanian Speaker: £1,600.62
- Official photographs of the Speaker: £307
- Refreshments at lectures delivered by politicians at parliament: £30,000
- Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc for ‘Panel of Chairs’ event: £476 (including £52.97 tip)