Commons speaker John Bercow has defended criticism of his spending on ceremonial gowns.
According to results of an FOI by The Mail the MP for Buckingham has spent £1,060 of taxpayer money on a new ceremonial morning suit.
This news comes after he spent £3,200 on a suit in 2011. The scale of the outlay on clothes - some £42,000 in the Commons over 14 months - raised broader questions about spending in Parliament after the expenses scandal in 2009.
Kamal El-Hajji, the Serjeant-At-Arms, had nearly £7,000 spent on his uniform when he was appointed in February. A total of £580 was spent on the Principal Clerk’s wig and £3,584 was charged for three gowns. The investigation revealed that Mr Bercow had charged the taxpayer almost £2,000 for hand finished candles, and also postcards of himself to send to supporters.
A statement from Mr Bercow’s office said: “Some members of the Speaker’s Office, including the Speaker himself, are required to wear ceremonial dress on the daily procession and whilst undertaking duties in the Chamber, as well as on state and official occasions. In line with the Speaker’s ongoing commitment to reducing his office expenditure – which has been cut by nearly a quarter since he was elected to the role in 2009 – court dress is replaced only where absolutely necessary.”