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Lords' Speaker D'Souza claimed hundreds in expenses for chauffeur-driven car

By James Tapsfield

Published 23/12/2015

Cash: Lords’ Speaker Baroness D’Souza
Cash: Lords’ Speaker Baroness D’Souza

The Speaker of the House of Lords racked up a £230 bill keeping a chauffeur-driven car waiting for some four hours while she watched an opera a mile from Parliament.

Baroness D'Souza also spent £270 holding a car for four-and-a-half hours while she had lunch with the Japanese ambassador in central London, and £738 keeping a luxury Mercedes parked for up to 10 hours during an event at Windsor Castle.

Using a Mercedes to get from Westminster to Canterbury for the enthronement of Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2013 cost £627 - with Commons counterpart John Bercow making exactly the same journey in a separate car for £525. The Lords' Speaker has also spent tens of thousands of pounds on travel, flying business class, staying in hotels costing up to £300 a night, and ordering £123 of room service for a "breakfast meeting".

Fresh details of the expenses incurred by the peer - a former university lecturer who earns a salary of more than £100,000 for a largely ceremonial role and does not require an official car for security purposes - have been released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Limited information has been published in the past, but in the wake of a landmark Court of Appeal ruling on the scope of FOI, the Lords authorities have now supplied copies of individual receipts submitted on Lady D'Souza's behalf.

Earlier this year a similar disclosure for John Bercow, revealed a £172 bill for attending a conference less than a mile from parliament.

Dia Chakravarty of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Taxpayers will be dismayed to learn that the simplest of journeys by Baroness D'Souza has ended up costing them hundreds of pounds.

"People will struggle to conclude that her present spending on travel is anything other than wasteful and occasionally downright frivolous."

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