John Bercow: Bridgen discusses pension statement
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John Bercow has been slammed by Tory MPs after the 58-year-old broke his 2012 pledge that he would not touch his gold-plated pension which is worth £35k-a-year until he turned 65. The House of Commons Speaker, the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor are entitled to claim half their final salary when they left office regardless of age and time in the role. David Cameron and Ken Clarke turned down theirs in light of the financial crash but Mr Bercow only promised to suspend it which, after reportedly speaking with his wife Sally, he then decided to take it early after all.
Speaking on TalkRADIO, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has been extremely critical of Mr Bercow’s decision and previously suggested it showed his “deeply flawed character” which would scupper any chance for him to be awarded a peerage in the House of Lords.
Mr Bridgen told the radio station: “There were three offices of state which on the moment you weren’t in office, you’ve got half your pay for the rest of your life.
“And that was the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor and Speaker.
“David Cameron and Ken Clark decided given the state of the finances, they would give up that right to 50 percent pay for the rest of their lives and the Speaker John Bercow put out a statement saying that he wasn’t relinquishing it but he wouldn’t take it until he was 65 out of interest…
“Eventually he crumbled and admitted that he’s been taking his pension today and since 2019.
“So he went back on his word, I think, let us down and so with our reputation when he was Speaker.
“And I think now what he’s shown is that his words worth nothing.”
In a statement, Mr Bercow spoke of his decision and said: “Shortly before I left office, Sally and I discussed the matter.
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“She emphasised that the pension had always been part of my employment package and I should therefore take it.
“Especially as, in her words, the Johnson Government was ‘breaking conventions and promises left, right and centre’.
“I agreed with that sentiment and have been taking my Speaker pension, in line with my predecessors’ practice, since I retired.”
Current Speaker Sir Lindsey Hoyle will not be eligible for the pension as it was abolished in 2013.
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Mr Bercow made the promise in 2012 and said he did not think it was right for him to claim the pension when he was still relatively young and would likely work after he left office.
The former speaker also defected to Labour following several falling outs with the Conservative Party with some MPs seeking to remove him from office via a vote of no confidence.
Mr Bercow says the reason for his move is because he no longer relates to the current Conservative Party.
Critics suggest Mr Bercow’s defection has been driven by the Conservatives not awarding him a peerage, as is tradition with the role of speaker.
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