It looks like those £32,500-a-year figtrees won’t be staying in Portcullis House for long. While they may add a pleasant ambiance to the building, the huge rent bill has caused much annoyance, including for the Speaker of the Commons. In an interview with House Magazine, John Bercow says he was ‘horrified’ and adds:
‘If we are going to have trees, they absolutely shouldn’t be trees that cause us to fleece the taxpayer in this way, and that must change at the earliest opportunity.If there is a contract and it’s going to cost us more to get out of it immediately than not, then it may well have to wait… but should the present arrangement continue beyond September? Absolutely not.’
Update: PoliticsHome reports that David Cameron is backing Bercow’s
call. A No.10 spokesman said: ‘All parts of the public sector need to be looking at where they can find savings. I don’t see any reason why Parliament shouldn’t.’
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.