Male MPs no longer required to be ′tied up′ in UK House of Commons | News | DW | 29.06.2017
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Male MPs no longer required to be 'tied up' in UK House of Commons

Members of Parliament will no longer be expected to wear a tie with their suits in the House of Commons. The decision has attracted a wide range of reaction in an institution that is steeped in tradition and protocol.

The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announced on Thursday that male lawmakers were no longer required to wear ties in the Commons chamber. In the past, male lawmakers had occasionally been reprimanded for not donning a tie - even though there was no obligatory parliamentary dress code.

Bercow added, however, that Members of Parliament (MPs) were still expected to "dress in businesslike attire."

Jeremy Corbyn (picture-alliance/AA/K. Green)

Some MPs such as the head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, have long preferred a less formal dress code.

"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 center stage," Bercow told the House of Commons.

The ruling is regarded as the latest move by Bercow to bring Parliament into the modern day, having dropped the requirement for clerks to wear wigs earlier in the year.

The new rule was also applied to political reporters, who have on occasion been refused entry to the House of Commons when appearing tie-less in the past.

Casual tie-days

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Tom Brake had started the "revolution" in Parliament, addressing the Commons during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) without a tie, thus prompting MP Peter Bone from the ruling Conservative Party to ask whether the rules had changed.

The announcement caused something of a commotion in Parliament, which is known for its adherence to its age-old conventions and traditions. While some praised Bercow for showing common sense, others criticized what they saw as a decline in standards.

"John Bercow has crossed a line by dropping the requirement for men to wear ties in the Commons. What's next? MPs in flip flops and shorts?" the Daily Telegraph newspaper's Christopher Hope wrote on Twitter.

ITV political correspondent Carl Dinnen commented: "We are turning into Iran. Or the Labour Party," referring to the reluctance of both the Iranian leadership and far-left members of Labour to wear ties.

Other commentators welcomed the move. The Sun newspaper journalist Matt Dathan wrote on Twitter that Parliament had finally moved out of the 19th century.

BuzzFeed's senior UK political correspondent Alex Spence, meanwhile, hinted at the fact that the change in procedures had been a long time in the making, with some of those working in Parliament having wanted to go tie-less as well.