JOHN Bercow has defied critics of his jet set lifestyle and blown £250,000 of taxpayers money on globe-trotting jaunts.
The Commons Speaker has clocked up 207,000 miles in the decade since he landed the job – flying four times farther than the Queen.
Commons Speaker John Bercow has spent £250,000 of taxpayers money to fund his globe-trotting lifestyle[/caption]
He has now flown the equivalent of eight times around the Earth. When the staff who travel with him are included, their air miles total 457,000, equivalent to flying to the moon and back.
Mr Bercow has also pocketed more than £157,000 in gifts and political donations since he became Speaker, about the same as his annual salary.
Tory MP James Duddridge quipped: “I fully support the Speaker travelling overseas, regardless of the expense. If only he would stay there.”
Official records show his total flight bill since 2009 is £173,000, a large chunk of it for premium or business class seats.
I fully support the Speaker travelling overseas, if only he would stay there
He also spent £29,000 on cars, £24,000 on hotels and £15,000 on taxis.
The Speaker, who mostly travels to give lectures, has been to Tokyo, Cape Town, Toronto, Washington, Delhi, Seoul, Israel, Nairobi and across Europe.
His most costly trip was to Burma and New Zealand in July 2013, which cost him, three staff members and three MPs a total of £33,000 on business class flights plus nearly £8,000 on hotels, bringing the total to £41,000.
The Speaker’s spokesman said: “Visits abroad are following invitations from Speakers and parliaments around the world, international parliamentary conferences and to speak at events for and about the UK Parliament.
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“Mr Speaker always puts his duties to the House of Commons first and the vast majority of visits are undertaken during recess periods and in his own personal time.
In fact, he receives far more invitations than his parliamentary duties allow him to accommodate.
“In 10 years, the Speaker has not had a single day off sick and has chaired on every regular sitting day – Monday to Thursday – except for two occasions when he represented Parliament at the funerals of colleagues.”
James Duddridge quipped: ‘I fully support the Speaker travelling overseas, if only he would stay there’[/caption]
The Speaker has also pocketed over £157,000 in gifts and political donations since having the job[/caption]
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