When, back in May, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the then Rt Hon Michael Martin MP was forced to resign, and a new Speaker was elected, we were promised a new broom attitude. No nonsense would be tolerated after what most people could agree was the inauspicious Speakership and humiliating removal of Martin.
So after what most people would describe as an unsatisfactory election, with Labour voting for the Tory that Tories love to hate, we got Mr Bercow. Was this the new broom we were promised?
Well, as far as expenses go, it would seem not. One of Mr Bercow’s first jobs was to appoint himself a “special advisor” (at £107,000 a year), whose job it is “to raise his personal profile”. As fellow blogger Tory Outcast asks... what for? He’s not there to have a personal profile. He’s there to be Speaker. Mr Bercow also seems to have ruled out any kind of retribution for the house flippers of the Duck Parliament. (In one way, not surprisingly since he is one himself; but in another way very surprisingly since there are two inquiries and a commission dealing with that issue, not to mention the law!)
New FOI revelations show that Mr Bercow has spent, in the first 6 months of his tenure of the office, £45,000 on doing up his grace and favour pad, Speaker’s House, despite the fact that Mr Martin spent a king's ransom on it. Apparently within days of his election his wife was sending emails saying that the wallpaper was very “boardroomish”, and demanding a bigger television and a dvd player for the children.
Hello, I thought: Could you not have bought one of your own? I mean just because you are living at our expense doesn’t mean you can’t make some sort of contribution. (In most cases when people are in state-owned housing, decorating it to their taste is their job.) Bring your own telly for the kids, don't expect us to buy them one; maybe you could bring your own clothes too?
Mr Bercow also spent £3,600 on a visit to Rome to attend the G8 Speaker’s’ Conference... what the hell is that for? In what way does this conference benefit the taxpayer? Still, Rome is nice, no one could deny that.
So! As usual with Westminster, we were cheated. Nothing is too good for the Bercows. We thought that change was the order of the day, and we were wrong. Same old, same old from Mr and Mrs Bercow. I wonder how quickly he can be got rid of?