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Mon, 10 August 2020

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John Bercow claimed £1,000 taxi ride in final months of being Commons Speaker

John Bercow claimed £1,000 taxi ride in final months of being Commons Speaker
2 min read

Former Commons Speaker John Bercow took a £1,000 taxi ride from Westminster to Nottingham during his final few months in the job, it has emerged.

A Freedom of Information request lodged by the Daily Mail revealed that Mr Bercow, who stood down late last year, spent £1,003 on a return taxi trip to the East Midlands to give a speech on the "anti-politics age".

The trip - which Commons authorities said had been made on security grounds - formed part of a final flurry of activity from the Speaker as he approached the end of his decade in the job.

A Commons spokesperson said: "Due to heightened security concerns for the safety of MPs, Mr Bercow was advised it was safer for him to travel to Nottingham Trent University by taxi, rather than by train."

Other expenses claimed by Mr Bercow include a £1,406 lunch with the presiding officers of the other UK parliaments and a £3,168 retirement party for the outgoing Speaker's Chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who has since been appointed Bishop of Dover.

Other leaving parties included £2,376 spent on a retirement do for the departing Commons invitations secretary in February, and in March a bill of £3,187 to send off the long-serving Clerk of the House David Natzler. 

In May, £3,696 was also spent on a retirement party for the the principal clerk of the Table Office.

A Commons spokesperson said: "The Speaker's Office has funded retirement receptions for senior staff many times in the past."

The documents also show that Mr Bercow spent £7,000 on a visit to the United States in his final months in office, visiting Washington DC to deliver a speech on the "role of Parliament in today's Britain".

Since leaving office, Mr Bercow has signed up to a public speaking agency and has also appeared as a pundit for Sky News during its election night coverage.

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