Speaker's wife flogs furniture on eBay


Sally Bercow

Sally Bercow, the Speaker's wife, has been selling antique furniture from Speaker's House on eBay. She has made more than £1,500 so far, and directs strangers to the property in order to collect it.

So what has she sold, and is there anything wrong with what she's doing?


Bercow lives in the official residence of the Speaker in Westminster, which the couple have filled with antique furniture (paid for by themselves). She decided to sell some of this furniture, saying on eBay: "It just won't work in the new, modern house we bought recently."

She photographed the furniture in the property, and sold a number of pieces during April and May.
Among the items were a Duresta sofa and armchair - sold for £180 and £190, a Gautier designer cabin bed sold for £300, a carved oak dresser for £255, and an Edwardian pattered chair for £89.32. She has sold more than £1,600 of furniture since the beginning of April.

She my not have got the best possible deal, because while the listing for the dresser claimed that it had been valued at £2,250,she only got £250 for it.

However, the buyers were delighted. One said: "Thank you for a beautiful piece. It was a joy to do business with you." Another added: "Excellent ebayer hope to deal with her again", and a third said: "Thanks, lovely bookcase. This was a celebrity buy."

Should we be worried?

Buyers had to arrange collection, which initially raised eyebrows over how that would fit with security arrangements, with The Sun reporting concern from Westminster. However, a spokesperson for the couple told the Evening Standard: "There are no security concerns as all visitors to the Parliamentary estate undergo strict searches as a condition of entry and are restricted on where they may go on the estate once they are admitted."

So given that this was Bercow's own furniture, sold without a security risk, should we be concerned?

The story mirrors one that emerged in 2010, when it was reported that Cherie Blair was an avid eBay-user. The vast majority of her activity was as a buyer, and a large proportion of this was Lego. However, she also sold a number of items which were poured over by the media at the time.

She apparently sold a bookplate autographed by her husband for £10. She did it in order to undermine the market in his autographs and she refunded the money. However, it didn't stop criticism of her activity.

Both women were simply buying and selling their own property as private citizens. They aren't breaking any laws or doing any harm. The position of Prime Minister's wife doesn't seem to have been irrevocably harmed by Blair's use of eBay, just as the position of Speaker's wife is unlikely to be tarnished by the sale of an oak cabinet.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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