MPs fiddled their expenses as a "displacement activity" because Parliament had become irrelevant and ineffective, according to Speaker John Bercow.
Mr Bercow suggested the 2009 scandal was as much a symptom of decades of decline as "malice or corruption" as he urged action to ensure Westminster kept up with the modern world.
In a speech to the Hansard Society, Mr Bercow said that after he became Speaker in June 2009 he feared for the future of parliament."The blunt truth is that the expenses debacle was a particularly embarrassing layer of icing on an especially unappetising cake.
"The reality in 2009 is that the House of Commons as a meaningful political institution, an effective legislature, had been in decline for some decades."
Mr Bercow said the Commons had become, "little more than a cross between a rubber stamp and a talking shop", which:
"Had taken to collective activity such as the imaginative interpretation of what might be a legitimate expense claim as much as an odd form of displacement activity as out of any shared sense of malice or corruption."
Commons Speaker John Bercow has been accused of behaving like an "arrogant toff" by a motorist who claims he scratched her parked car.
Nathalie Pulford, 42, was dining in London's affluent Chelsea neighbourhood when she claims she spotted Mr Bercow bump her car while maneuvering into a tight space.
Ms Pulford told the Evening Standard she confronted Mr Bercow, who denied he had scratched her car. "It sounds petty but it's the principle. As far as I'm concerned he's a little weasel who should take responsibility," she added.
A spokesman said that Mr Bercow "strongly denies that his car hit this lady's car" and that "if she wants to raise it with her insurer, he would be more than happy to defend himself and explain what happened."
MPs cheered today as they were told gay marriage had passed into law.
Speaker John Bercow announced in the Commons that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill had been granted royal assent by the Queen:
Speaker John Bercow has ordered a Government minister to stop suggesting that a fellow MP was "chuntering" in the Commons.
Transport Minister Simon Burns told Labour MP Kevan Jones to stop "chuntering" - meaning to talk or grumble in a boring fashion - when he was speaking about high-speed rail.
The Speaker said it was"inappropriate" for Mr Burns to make such suggestions, as he himself was someone who chunters "extremely noisily".
Mr Bercow said: "Mr Jones wasn't chuntering. There are many people who do chunter in the House, in some cases extremely noisily and an exemplar of that approach is you."
Commons speaker John Bercow's comments on migrant workers has raised questions about his political neutrality. As Speaker, Mr Bercow is expected to stay out of active political debates.
Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader told the Daily Telegraph: "It is outrageous that Mr Bercow is happy to overthrow the wisdom of ages and think it acceptable to comment on matters that are both highly political and deeply contentious.
"He is a disgrace to the office of Speaker. There are very good practical and constitutional reasons why the Speaker is neutral, reasons that he obviously believes are beneath his own august self image.”
Eastern European migrants show more "aptitude and commitment" to work than British people, the Commons Speaker John Bercow has said.
In remarks on a visit to Romania last week, Mr Bercow spoke about the “important wave of immigrants” that have come to Britain in recent years, and praised their work ethic, “ reports The Daily Telegraph.
He said: "I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration, any state that wants to protect its own people should do this, but there are also great advantages.
“I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven’t always seen in our labour force.”
The bells of Big Ben and the Great Clock at Westminster are to be silenced during the funeral of Baroness Thatcher on Wednesday, Speaker John Bercow has told the House of Commons:
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) gave assurances last night that it would not publish the full addresses of MPs caught up in the latest expenses allegations.
The watchdog was responding to a letter from the Commons Speaker John Bercow warning that there was a "very real danger" that MPs' residential addresses could be discovered.
Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of Ipsa, said the "names of landlords and other suppliers of goods and service" would be disclosed where relevant. He added that all affected MPs had been asked whether they had any concerns about their landlord's details being released.
Ipsa had been due to disclose the material in response to a Freedom of Information request.
The Speaker of the House of Commons is reportedly trying to stop details being made public which show if MPs are renting taxpayer-funded homes to each other.
The Telegraph says John Bercow has been in touch with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority asking it not to reveal the identities of MPs' landlords. He says it poses a security risk.