Controversy over £37,000 Speaker state portrait

Painting of John Bercow unveiled in Parliament
Painting of John Bercow unveiled in Parliament

A PORTRAIT of Vale MP John Bercow was unveiled at Speakers House on Monday.

The state portrait, by Brendan Kelly, cost £37,000, prompting the ire of critics including the Taxpayers Alliance. Also unveiled was a coat of arms, designed by Mr Bercow.

Alliance director Matthew Sinclair said: “Following the MPs’ expenses scandal, Parliament should be cutting costs, not throwing taxpayers’ money away boosting John Bercow’s ego.”

But Mr Bercow’s office says the tradition of having portraits done dates back to the mid 1800s.

A spokeswoman said: “He doesn’t benefit financially from it, it will remain in place after he ceases to be speaker, it belongs to Parliament.”