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Taxpayers buy washing machine for flat where John Bercow’s NANNY lives

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Taxpayers foot £490 bill for a new washing machine in the flat where Speaker John Bercow’s NANNY lives – and shell out for a Christmas tree at his grace-and-favour residence

  • John Bercow has lived in grace-and-favour residence with his family since 2009 
  • FOI documents show £490 was spent on new washing machine for nanny’s flat
  • Commons authorities also disclosed a Christmas tree was supplied to residence
  • Speaker’s spokeswoman refused to comment on any of the spending details 

Taxpayers have footed a £490 bill for a new washing machine to go in the flat where Speaker John Bercow’s nanny lives.

The public purse also paid for a Christmas tree in Mr Bercow’s grace-and-favour residence at Parliament, according to details released to MailOnline under freedom of information rules.

Another £1,000 has been spent on fixing doors in the opulent home where the Bercow family has lived for the past decade.

The costs of maintenance at the Speaker’s residence over the past 16 months were disclosed by the House authorities in response to an FOI request. 

Unusually, Mr Bercow’s spokeswoman refused to give any comment or explain the spending beyond what was put out by House officials. 

Mr Bercow – who has announced he is standing down on October 31 amid Tory fury at his handling of Brexit – has lived in Speaker’s House with wife Sally and their three children since 2009.

A spokeswoman for John Bercow (pictured in the Commons this week) refused to give any comment or explain the spending beyond what was put out by House officials

A spokeswoman for John Bercow (pictured in the Commons this week) refused to give any comment or explain the spending beyond what was put out by House officials

According to the FOI response, a firm was paid £490.78 in February this year to replace a 'redundant' washing machine in the nanny's flat (invoice pictured)

According to the FOI response, a firm was paid £490.78 in February this year to replace a ‘redundant’ washing machine in the nanny’s flat (invoice pictured)

Whereas the PM pays a tax charge for their apartment in Downing Street, Mr Bercow – who is the best paid politician in the country, earning more than £150,000 a year – is not thought to contribute a penny in rent or running costs. 

The tennis and football-mad MP has notoriously claimed more than £100 a month for a Sky subscription, including a sports package.

A nanny has also lived in a self-contained flat at the residence – raising questions about whether the taxpayer was subsidising the family’s childcare. 

The Speaker’s spokeswoman refused to confirm whether the nanny still lives there, although a senior Commons source told MailOnline they do.  

Speaker’s opulent residence funded by the taxpayer

John Bercow pictured in his apartment at Speaker's House

John Bercow pictured in his apartment at Speaker’s House 

John Bercow has lived in the grace-and-favour residence in Speaker’s House with wife Sally and their three children since 2009.

Whereas the PM pays a tax charge for their apartment in Downing St, Mr Bercow is not thought to contribute a penny in rent or running costs.

Soon after they moved in the Bercows ordered a refurbishment of the residence that cost some £20,000. 

They were also allowed to move a nanny into a self-contained flat on the estate – raising questions about whether the taxpayer was subsidising the family’s childcare.

According to the response, a firm was paid £490.78 in February this year to replace a ‘redundant’ washing machine in the nanny’s flat.

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The invoice stated that the task was to ‘remove and scrap’ one appliance, and ‘supply and fit a new Hotpoint washing machine and leave in working order’.

It is the latest in a line of bills for ‘white goods’ that Mr Bercow has put on the public tab. 

He ordered a £415 washing machine when he took the role in 2009.

The following year it broke down and Commons officials spent £438 to repair it.

Just a few months later, however, it failed again and a replacement was needed, at a cost of £594. 

In August 2016, there was a £1,095 bill to remove a ‘defective’ dryer and install a new Zanussi condensing machine. 

The latest disclosure shows repairing an ‘entrance door’ to the kitchen cost £538 in May this year, and further work to the ‘side entrance door’ to the residence the same month was £465.  

The House authorities said there was also a record of a Christmas tree being supplied to the Speaker’s residence. 

‘We hold a record of Christmas trees being supplied to Westminster Hall and the Speaker’s residence,’ the response said. 

‘These cost £370, but we cannot disaggregate the costs for the separate areas.’

Mr Bercow’s official spending is not subject to the same rules as expenses for MPs – who are banned by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) from buying furniture or white goods. 

The Speaker’s aides have previously insisted the overall costs of his office have gone down since he took the role.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘With the Speaker claiming for his nanny’s new washing machine, taxpayers will think they’ve been hung out to dry.

‘Given the number of public functions hosted in the residence, a few reasonable repairs are fair enough. But after being elected to restore trust after the expenses scandal, the speaker shouldn’t be shelling out taxpayers’ cash for the latest mod cons without a word of explanation.’

‘If he wants to finish what he started and avoid leaving a legacy of largesse, the Speaker would do well to listen to the public’s concerns and be much more careful with taxpayers’ hard-earned money.’ 

 

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