John Bercow has splurged £13,000 on a trip to Canada, as well as £70 on photos to send to ‘fans’ and £113 a month on a Sky sports package for his grace-and-favour residence.
More details of the Commons Speaker’s use of public money have emerged after a breakdown of his official spending was released to MailOnline under freedom of information rules.
The list shows Mr Bercow spent thousands of pounds on ‘entertainment’ last year, including £235 on drinks at a dinner for senior MPs.
Meanwhile, there were foreign jaunts to Canada, Switzerland, and Latvia.
There were also significant costs for Mr Bercow’s opulent apartment at Parliament, where he lives rent-free with wife Sally and their children.
The Arsenal fan’s Sky subscription – which includes the sports package – was around £113 a month. He also ordered £41 worth of on-demand films for his family during the last summer holidays, although he later reimbursed the spending.
Tuning the piano at Speaker’s House was £87.50.
Mr Bercow’s use of expenses has helped make him one of the most controversial Speakers in history – although as well as many critics he has strong supporters.
He drew fresh fury from Brexiteers last week by declaring during a taxpayer-funded trip to the US that he will stay in the powerful post until the process of leaving the EU is complete. He previously promised he would step down in 2018.
John Bercow’s use of expenses and handling of Brexit have helped make him one of the most controversial Speakers in history – although as well as many critics he has strong supporters. He is pictured in Speaker’s House earlier this month
The list shows Mr Bercow (pictured in the Speaker’s chair earlier this month) spent thousands of pounds on ‘entertainment’ last year, including £235 on drinks at a dinner for senior MPs
Mr Bercow has also been accused of tearing up centuries of Commons procedure to help Remainer MPs who have been trying to thwart the government’s plans, although he insisted he is merely ‘championing’ parliament.
Mr Bercow’s official spending as Speaker is not subject to the same rules as MPs – who are banned by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) from claiming meals or alcohol on expenses.
He notorious once spent £172 using a chauffeur-driven car to get to an event just 0.7 miles from parliament – although he has since started travelling by train and ordinary taxi where possible.
The latest disclosure from the Commons authorities covers the year to this January.
Business class flights for Mr Bercow and his secretary to Canada for a gathering of Speakers from G7 countries last July came to £12,352.
Mr Bercow and the official stayed at the four-star Lords Nelson hotel during the three-day conference, with a £660 bill.
In August, the Speaker’s office spent £70 on 100 ‘colour presentation portrait prints’. A spokeswoman confirmed that these were photographs of Mr Bercow that are signed and sent out to admirers on request. Pictured left is an example of a card Mr Bercow has sent out. He is pictured right in Speaker’s House in 2014
Business class flights for Mr Bercow and his secretary to Canada for a gathering of Speakers from G7 countries (pictured) last July came to £12,352
Flights to Switzerland to visit the Speaker there in September were £389, while a trip to Latvia for the same purpose in March was £430 plus £520 for a hotel and £335 on gifts for his counterpart, such as a pill box and whisky.
Hosting lectures by MPs at Speaker’s House was also pricey.
Entertainment for speeches by Nick Clegg in June last year and Harriet Harman in November both came in at £809, while another by Jacob Rees-Mogg in July was £1,008.
In December, Mr Bercow’s office spent £57 on a taxi to collect refreshments for a carol concert – even though there is a huge catering and banqueting department at Parliament.
The carol concert put on for staff cost just over £1,200.
There was also a £234 bill for drinks at a reception and dinner for the Panel of Chairs over the festive season. The panel is a group of MPs appointed by Mr Bercow to help him chair sessions in the Commons.
In August, the Speaker’s office spent £70 on 100 ‘colour presentation portrait prints’. A spokeswoman confirmed that these were photographs of Mr Bercow that are signed and sent out to admirers on request.
A spokeswoman for Mr Bercow said: ‘The Speaker attends the annual G7 Speakers’ conference wherever it is held.
‘Last year, this was in Nova Scotia, and followed the G7 summit of world leaders in Quebec, which was attended by the Prime Minister.
‘The Speaker and his Private Secretary travel business class on long haul flights.’
On the dinner for the Panel of Chairs the spokeswoman said ‘The Speaker’s office pays for the drinks reception beforehand and drinks served at the table.
‘The panel of chairs’ pay for their own food.’
Fixing sword for official who carried Speaker’s gown cost £840
The sword (circled in the picture being carried by a trainbearer in 2017) is part of the centuries-old rituals at Parliament, which see the Speaker make a daily procession through the corridors
The taxpayer has footed an £840 bill to fix a ceremonial sword for the official who carries Speaker John Bercow’s gown.
The sword is part of the centuries-old rituals at Parliament, which see the Speaker make a daily procession through the corridors.
He is accompanied by so-called ‘Men in Tights’ including a senior Doorkeeper, the Serjeant-at-Arms bearing the ceremonial Mace, a trainbearer who holds the tails of his gown, his chaplain and secretary.
They all wear traditional court dress, and some carry swords. According to the parliament website, nobody knows why the Speaker has a trainbearer, and the reasons for the procession itself are similarly unclear.
According to the details, the trainbearer’s sword had to be repaired in October, with the work leaving an £840 dent in the public purse.
A spokeswoman for the Speaker said: ‘The sword is used on a daily basis by the Speaker’s trainbearer.
‘It was sent away for refurbishment for the first time in at least 30 years.
‘The pommel (fitting at the top of the handle) was broken and needed repairing – and the scabbard (sheath) was replaced.’