In a country where the PM breaks the law and there’s a 20% poverty rate, there is one thing we won’t allow: A poorly dressed-politician. Despite many changes and developments over the years, one thing that has remained constant is the expectation for dress in the House of Commons.
There are many rules and regulations for people to follow in the House of Commons and that includes ones regarding dress code. The guidance states: ‘As with the language you use, how you dress should also demonstrate respect for the House and its central position in the life of the nation. There is no exact dress code: the usual business dress is suggested as a guide.
Despite the rules in place, there have been a few occasions where the standards have slipped.
Jonathan Gullis, Stoke-on-Trent’s Tory representative, was skipped over during a Commons debate. Deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing was about to invite Mr Gullis to speak before she noticed he was wearing a jumper – not the jacket required by the Commons dress code.
“We now go to… we now go… no, I don’t think we do go to Stoke-on-Trent. The honourable gentleman has to be dressed as if he were here in the chamber,” she said during the evening session.
Former Health secretary Jeremy Hunt was also told off by speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle for failing to dress smartly.
“Can I just remind members who are not in the chambers, that you should have the same dress code even if you are virtual – it is only fair that we treat each other with the same respect,” Sir Lindsay said.
It’s not just the speakers of the house that have high expectations. The British public also holds the MPs to a high standard – or, possibly a sexist standard.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, spoke out against social media users who shamed her for daring to bare one shoulder as she did her job in Parliament. Brabin replied on Twitter with examples of comments she had received.
“Sorry I don’t have time to reply to all of you commenting on this but I can confirm I’m not…. A slag / Hungover / A tart / About to breastfeed / A slapper / Drunk / Just been banged over a wheelie bin [trash can].”
Speaking about the incident on the BBC, Brabin put it down to double standards. “Women are judged continually by how they look … listen to what we say, not what we wear.”
So you can show off your Latin skills during a speech about hedgehogs, roar like a lion, or even make a Harry Enfield impression – but don’t you dare forget your suit jacket in the House of Commons.