John Bercow has pocketed more than £70,000 of freebies since becoming Speaker including football tickets worth almost £20,000, new figures reveal
- John Bercow has received corporate hospitality to watch football worth £18k
- He received two tickets for the Wimbledon men’s final worth almost £8,000
- He also had Royal Box tickets to see Venus Williams worth a further £8,590
- Details of the freebies is contained in Mr Bercow’s register of members interests
20:55 EST, 25 December 2018
16:18 EST, 26 December 2018
John Bercow has pocketed more than £70,000 worth of freebies since he became Speaker of the House of Commons, it was reported last night – including tickets to see Arsenal Football Club, pictured,
John Bercow has pocketed more than £70,000 worth of freebies since he became Speaker of the House of Commons, it was reported last night.
An analysis of Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests revealed that Mr Bercow has been inundated with tickets to sporting events, including seats to watch his beloved Arsenal and hospitality at Premier League football grounds across the country.
Mr Bercow, who earns £153,145 a year, received just under £19,000 worth in 2016/17 alone, another £16,948 worth in 2017/18, and has already racked up £9,296 in freebies so far this year, according to The Daily Telegraph.
In total he has been given £71,158 in gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources since he became Speaker in 2009. This includes £18,444 worth of tickets to football clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham.
And for each of the past five years, the ardent tennis fan also received two tickets for the Royal Box at Wimbledon. In July 2016 he received a pair from the All England Lawn Tennis Club to watch Andy Murray reach his second Wimbledon final, at an estimated value of £7,790, while the dearest gift came last year when he received two tickets to the Royal Box worth £8,590 to see Venus Williams reach the women’s final.
And for each of the past five years, the ardent tennis fan also received two tickets for the Royal Box at Wimbledon
The register of members’ interests shows that sports clubs are the most generous donors to Mr Bercow, while boxing promoter Frank Warren is the most giving individual.
Mr Bercow has previously faced criticism over an attempt to hire an ‘unqualified’ Australian to the £200,000-a-year post of Commons clerk, his lavish spending on refurbishing the Speaker’s official residence and his jet-setting at taxpayers’ expense.
A spokesperson for the Speaker’s office said: ‘It is no secret that the Speaker is a keen sports fan, and watches matches live whenever possible. All hospitality is declared in full and on time to the Register of Members’ Interests in accordance with the rules. The Speaker’s Residence is located within the Palace of Westminster which is a Grade 1 listed building, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alterations and repairs are undertaken with the need to preserve the historic building in mind.’