MPs told to smarten up ahead of return to parliament after summer recess

MPs told to smarten up ahead of return to parliament after summer recess
MPs have been told jeans and chinos are not appropiate and singing is to be banned

MPs returning to House of Commons after the summer recess next week have been instructed to smarten up their outfits, in a reminder the days of Zooming into Parliament are over.

Speaker of the house Sir Lindsay Hoyle has updated the ‘Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons” informing MPs that items such as jeans and chinos are not allowed.

The advice represents a toughening-up of guidance compared with that of the previous speaker John Bercow, whose last set of such rules said there was “no exact dress code” and typical business attire was merely a suggestion.

But Sir Lindsay’s new guidance, which could be a possible bid to nip in the bud any slackening of post-Covid fashion, states MPs must remember how they dress “should demonstrate respect for your constituents, 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,” it says.

“Jeans, chinos, sportswear or any other casual trousers are not appropriate. T-shirts and sleeveless tops are not business attire.

“Smart/business shoes are expected to be worn. Casual shoes and trainers are not appropriate. Men are encouraged to wear a tie, and jackets must be worn.

“It is a privilege to serve as a Member of Parliament and your dress, language and conduct should reflect this.”

The crackdown comes after a number of moments when parliamentary fashion made headlines, during and prior to the pandemic.

In December Sir Lindsay told Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt he was not dressed smartly enough during a debate in the Commons on Covid-19.

And, MP Tracy Brabin found herself at the centre of a storm for wearing an off-the-shoulder black dress in the chamber in February 2020, a garment she later auctioned off for charity, raising £20,000 in the process.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle has issued new guidance for MPs to smarten up their outfits before returning to the Commons next week

Sir Lindsay has also moved to clamp down on rowdiness in the Commons.

Singing is to be banned, potentially averting a repeat of the scenes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament in September 2019, when Labour MPs protested by singing songs including the Red Flag and Scots Wha Hae.

The new rules state that “singing and chanting are not permitted in the chamber” and that “clapping is also not allowed as it eats into the time available for debate”.

MPs have also been told to pay attention: “When listening to a debate you should not read books or newspapers or obviously devote yourself to your phone or other electronic device.”