Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bercow's Re-Decs

Speaker Bercow's apartment has reportedly been redecorated, something which is not news as in the wish to be transparent John Bercow announced this last August. It is not the object of this post to question the reasoning behind why two spreadsheets for this expense were maintained, nor why the additional expense has doubled and appeared to have been 'hidden' in administrative 'niceties'. Neither will this post delve into the question of whether it was a good move by Bercow when considering the small matter of any 'effect' that Expensegate will have during the next general election, coupled with the fact that unlike normal 'Speaker elections', this time there will be the 'Farage element' involved.

It will be remembered it being reported that the Conservatives were a tad miffed at having John Bercow 'foisted' on them by the Labour party and that also there was even talk of a change in the Speakership should the Conservative Party form the next government. In which case it must be obvious that the whole exercise would be repeated by Bercow's replacement, causing yet more public money to be spent.

Therefore one has to ask (a) was this a pre-emptive move by John Bercow to cement his position as Speaker; (b) has David Cameron intimated to John Bercow that no move will be made to replace him, were the Conservative Party to form the next government; (c) if (b) is true, on whose authority did David Cameron make this decision or as is more likely did Cameron made a decision by 'fiat', a decision which at present he is not in a position to do and (d) on the basis that the Speaker is no more than an MP, in that he has to be elected and is therefore subject, one could presume, to the same 'constraints' as an ordinary MP, knowing that it was likely that second homes for Ministers of State, ie those occupying 'grace and favour' homes - of which it can be argued the Speaker is one - would no longer qualify for Additional Costs Allowance, then was not the decision to proceed - and be allowed to proceed - hypocritical?

Just thinking......... 

Update: A statement has been issued by Bercow, reported by the BBC. The central question remains though, in my opinion, that if his tenure of Speaker is unsure then surely he could have stayed in his London flat. If on the other hand he did receive the 'support' of Cameron, then the initial works including child-proof locks on windows is understandable. On the data provided however the figures do not really 'stack-up' and differing interpretations of what were 'changes' and what were 'maintenance' need to be clarified. The original comment remains therefore.......just thinking.


FoolOnTheHill said...

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James Higham said...

Question of time until he gets Faraged next year.

Witterings From Witney said...


e-mail me using the link on my blog and I will reply direct to you with the required 'steps'.

Thank you for being willing to display the link.

Anonymous said...

Alas for poor Bercow the Telegraph has probably crossed the line this time. But no one will care.

There is a clear distinction between "childproofing" and "stopping Speakers House falling into the Thames", and one has to believe Bercow when he says that he has no personal control over work done to prevent the latter from occurring, amusing as that might be.

Will Bercow get unelected? Doubtful. Farage pretends he is doing something without precedent, but mainstream parties stand against sitting speakers all the time. If the SNP can't make major inroads against Martin, what hope Farage? And the Tories need an alternative speaker, and George Young is just as wrapped up in the expenses affair as Bercow - they even sit together many of the major committees.

Anonymous said...

Iirc Mr Speaker has to live at Speaker's House whether he wants to or not. It's a condition of office.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the original reports of the story on August 5, you see that actually the extra cost was known then. The telegraph's own report says it understands that an 'extra £20000" had been earmarked for routine maintenance.

Just look at the story back in August:

It says quote that "It is understood that a further £20,000 has been allocated to cover general maintenance."

Shockingly, the Telegraph seems to forgotten their own story, or they are just recycling news.

Witterings From Witney said...

In response to Anon's comments I stand corrected.

However, it may well be a 'condition of office' that the Speaker lives there, but as 'Parliament' is in the process of having its rules altered and the speaker seems able to 'request' certain matters, then he could have 'requested' he be allowed to live in his own flat?