Speaker John Bercow recently confirmed that male MPs do not need to wear ties in the House of Commons chamber.

Breaking away from tradition, Mr Bercow discussed that it’s not essential for MPs to include ties in their outfit, but should wear “businesslike attire”.

Parliamentary custom is for male MPs to wear jackets and ties in the chamber.

Mr Bercow was speaking after Tory backbencher Peter Bone said he had spotted an MP – who was Lib Dem Tom Brake – asking a question tieless.

Know for wearing rather eye-catching ties in the Commons, Mr Bone said he was “not really one to talk about dress sense” but asked whether the rules had changed.

Mr Bercow responded by saying: “I think the general expectation is that members should dress in businesslike attire.”

He added: “So far as the chair is concerned… it seems to me that as long as a member arrives in the House in what might be thought to be businesslike attire, the question of whether that member is wearing a tie is not absolutely front and centre stage.”

Mr Bercow went on to say that MPs should always show respect towards their colleagues or the House of Commons, he added: “Do I think it’s essential that a member wears a tie? No.”

To laughter from MPs, Mr Bercow clarified that there was “absolutely no obligation on female members not to wear ties, if they so choose”.

The official rule book of parliament – Erskine May – only has a limited set of rules on members’ dress; namely that military insignia or uniforms should not be worn in the Commons and that the custom is “for gentlemen members to wear jackets and ties”.

As a parliamentary factsheet notes, the Speaker has “on a number of occasions, taken exception to informal clothing, including the non-wearing of jackets and ties by men”.

Back in 2009, MP Graham Allen was interrupted by former deputy speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst who told him he was not “properly attired” when he tried to ask a question when not wearing a tie.

Two years later, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi apologised after a novelty tie he was wearing started playing a tune while he was in the middle of a Commons speech…

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Source: BBC NEWS

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