In Brief

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."

Recommended

‘Go-slow’ protesters: who they are and what they want
Traffic on an a-road
Fact file

‘Go-slow’ protesters: who they are and what they want

Boris Johnson and his trouble with the truth
Boris Johnson at the weekly cabinet meeting today
Why we’re talking about . . .

Boris Johnson and his trouble with the truth

Chris Mason: who is the BBC’s new political editor?
New BBC political editor Chris Mason
Profile

Chris Mason: who is the BBC’s new political editor?

What to expect from the new Covid wave
Members of the public look at a wall of remembrance for Covid-19 victims
In Depth

What to expect from the new Covid wave

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

What happened to Logan Mwangi?
Tributes left to Logan Mwangi
Today’s big question

What happened to Logan Mwangi?

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

The Week Footer Banner