Speaker John Bercow addressed the not-so-urgent question of male MPs wearing ties in the Commons
MPs are expected to dress in “businesslike attire”.
The House of Commons may have been in the midst of a Queen’s Speech debate but there was still time to cover one pressing question: should male MPs wear a tie in the Commons chamber?
Tory backbencher Peter Bone remarked that Lib Dem MP Tom Brake had asked a question in the Commons on Wednesday, without a tie around his neck.
“I’m not really one to talk about dress sense, but I noticed yesterday, sir, that a member was allowed to ask a question in the chamber without wearing a tie”, Bone told speaker John Bercow, while sporting diagonally striped royal blue and yellow neckwear.
He then asked: “I have no particular view on that, but have the rules changed, sir?”
Twitter pointed out that there were bigger issues on the table.
It sums things up perfectly where it's ok go vote down a public sector payrise but to allow men in parliament to not wear ties is a disgrace— Dan (@Carpenterdf) June 29, 2017
A point of order about ties in parliament today?! Aren't there currently bigger fish to fry? 😂 #parliament— Leia (@MissNotlob) June 29, 2017
The Speaker, breaking tradition, said ties were not necessary.
“The general expectation is that members should dress in businesslike attire”, Bercow said.
He continued: “Am I minded not to call a member simply because he is not wearing a tie? No.
Well done Speaker John Bercow for saying that ties are not needed to make a contribution in the Commons. 21st century Parliament on the way.— disabilitypolitics (@dis_politics) June 29, 2017
The revolution has begun... House of Commons speaker John Bercow says MPs don't need to wear tieshttps://t.co/RLbQzPhMUR— Mark Moran (@pictureville) June 29, 2017
“Members shouldn’t behave in a way that is disrespectful to their colleagues or to the institution, but do I think it’s essential that a member wears a tie? No.”
Parliament’s 173-year-old rule book, Erskine May, states that the custom is for male members to wear jackets and ties.
However, the traditions of Parliament state that, on occasion, the Speaker has “taken exception to informal clothing, including the non-wearing of jackets and ties by men”.
British Parliament scraps requirement for male MPS to wear ties;Speaker John Bercow says it not essential for MPs to don the piece of cloth.— Bonface Nyangla (@BonfaceNyangla) June 29, 2017
Bercow did point out that the choice of tie was a matter of personal judgement: “Opinions on the honourable gentleman’s choice of ties do tend to vary and, it has to be said, the same can be said of my own.”
He also noted: “There is no obligation of female members not to wear ties, if they so choose”.