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John Bercow's extravagant bill in last months as speaker revealed

The Scotsman logo The Scotsman 14/01/2020 Scotsman Reporter

John Bercow wearing glasses and smiling at the camera © Provided by The Scotsman Former Commons speaker John Bercow splashed out £1,000 on a taxi for a 130-mile journey that could have cost as little as £67 by train.

The Mail Online reported that Mr Bercow, who stood down before the election, enjoyed a spending spree in his final months in the job.

His expenses bill included paying out £1,003 for a return taxi journey from Westminster to Nottingham in order to give a speech in April.

Aides say he was encouraged not to take public transport to Nottingham Trent University, where he was speaking about how Parliament should respond to the "anti-politics age", because of "security concerns".

"Due to heightened security concerns for the safety of MPs, Mr Bercow was advised it was safer for him to travel to the University of Nottingham by taxi, rather than by train," a Commons spokeswoman told the Mail Online.

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Mr Bercow also enjoyed a £7,000 jaunt around the US during the end of his tenure, according to details from a freedom of information request submitted by the news website.

His expenses - paid by taxpayers - included a £118-a-month subscription to Sky for Speaker's House, the apartment within the Palace of Westminster where Mr Bercow resided with his family.

John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons © Reuters John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons The former Conservative MP also left the public with a £12,000 bill for leaving parties.

It included an invoice of £3,168 for a "retirement" party for Speaker's chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

Rather than retire, she became the Bishop of Dover.

 Mr Bercow also spent £2,376 on a retirement party for the Commons invitations secretary in February and a month later another £3,187 for a formal farewell to Clerk of the House, David Natzler.

In May, the Speaker's official account spent £3,696 on giving the principal clerk of the Table Office a send-off.

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A Commons spokeswoman told the Mail Online: "The Speaker's Office has funded retirement receptions for senior staff many times in the past."

Before he left the Commons chair on October 31, Mr Bercow used his official account to settle a £234 drinks bill at a reception for the Panel of Chairs - MPs who help him oversee Parliamentary debates - and £560 on lunch for his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Remain-voter Mr Bercow refereed proceedings in the Commons for nine years.

He has been hired for media appearances since stepping down, including providing commentary for Sky News during its general election coverage last month.

His successor as Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has vowed to bring in a "different style" and has already been commended for ensuring sessions do not overrun.

Prime Minister's Questions was curtailed at the traditional half-hour mark by Mr Hoyle on Wednesday.

The midday session had gone on for almost an hour on some occasions towards the end of Mr Bercow's tenure.

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