British MPs will return to the House of Commons on Monday at the end of their summer recess and have been warned by the Speaker to dress appropriately in “business attire”.
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle has updated the “Rules of Conduct and Courtesies in the House of Commons” to address any laxity that may have arisen during the COVID-19 lockdown as rules were relaxed to allow MPs to connect pretty much with the room.
The new, improved Commons guidelines state that MPs must remember how they dress, “show respect for your voters, for the House and for the institution of Parliament in the life of the nation”.
“Members are expected to wear business attire in and around the Chamber,” the new rules state.
“Jeans, chinos, sportswear or other casual trousers are not suitable. T-shirts and sleeveless tops are not business attire. Smart/business shoes are expected to be worn. Casual shoes and sports shoes are not suitable. Men are encouraged to wear a tie, and jackets must be worn,” it notes.
“It is a privilege to serve as an MP and your dress, language and behavior should reflect this,” it adds.
The new rules tightened up the advice of Hoyle’s predecessor John Bercow, who was known for a more relaxed approach and believed there was “no exact dress code” for MPs.
It follows a few instances where Hoyle has intervened to point out a Member of Parliament’s clothing choice, including former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who was told he was not dressed appropriately during a debate in the House of Commons on COVID-19 in Dec 2020.
Hoyle has also moved to address rowdiness in the Commons and the new rules state that “singing and singing are not allowed in the room” and that “clapping is also not allowed as it eats up the time available for debate” .
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