John Bercow under fire for expensing £172 one-mile drive
Speaker accused of 'obscene waste' after FOI reveals his proclivity for chauffeur-driven travel
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has come under fire for spending £172 on a chauffeur-driven car to a conference less than a mile away from Parliament.
He has been accused of "obscene waste" after a Freedom of Information request showed he had taken the expensive ride to Carlton House Terrace, just 0.7 miles from Parliament, in April 2013.
According to the travel app Citymapper, Bercow could have taken a bus for £1.50, a taxi for between £6 and £17 or walked the distance in 13 minutes at no cost to the taxpayer.
He also spent £524 to travel in an official car to see Archbishop Justin Welby enthroned in Canterbury, about 60 miles from central London, while a one-way 3.5-mile drive from King's Cross station to Speaker's House cost the taxpayer £168 – a cost of £48 a mile.
In the same year, Bercow claimed £367 for a 70-mile return drive to University of Bedfordshire to speak about the MPs' expenses scandal.
Andy Silvester, from the Taxpayers' Alliance, told Sky News: "This is an obscene waste of money and shows appalling judgement from whoever made the arrangements.
"Hugely expensive chauffeur-driven travel and costly meals abroad don't look good when this Speaker was elected specifically to improve the reputation of Parliament in light of the expenses scandal."
The Speaker's Office responded with a statement to say: "The Speaker is always mindful of costs, and travels standard class in the UK and when away from home, stays in hotels that offer value for money. In some instances a car service is required to facilitate timing requirements.
"In line with the Speaker's commitment to greater transparency details of these costs have been published on a quarterly basis since 2013."
Bercow's expenses were revealed just days after it emerged that Rob Wilson, the Conservative MP for Reading East and minister for civil society, claimed £0.09 on expenses for a 352-yard car journey, along with 160 travel claims for under £1 since 2010.
East said: "I can see how small claims might look odd but it is important that all MPs do the job properly and stay connected with local people."