To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what discussions he has had with the Clerk of the Parliaments regarding the attire of the Table Clerks in the Chamber of the House of Lords, particularly the resumption of wearing horsehair wigs.
16 September 2021
Last year, as part of our necessary response to ensure business resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, six additional members of staff were added to the Table Clerk rota. Full uniform was not worn by these new appointees, due to the significant procurement cost and uncertainties as to the duration of the expanded rota. In light of this the then Clerk of the Parliaments decided that uniform for all Table Clerks should be a formal gown over business attire.
An expanded rota of Table Clerks will remain in place, as it supports the resilience of the Chamber and allows a greater number of staff members to develop knowledge and understanding that is essential to the operation of the House. The costs of procuring and maintaining full uniform for a larger pool of Table Clerks would be significant. The Clerk of the Parliaments has therefore reviewed the situation and has explained to me that the current wearing of a uniform of formal gown over business attire allows Table Clerks to be identified, and respected, in the Chamber while also being appropriate for Clerks as officials performing their duties in supporting a professional, working House conducting regular business. Full uniform will continue to be worn by those Clerks participating in ceremonial occasions such as Introductions and Prorogation; and for State Opening, at which wigs will also be worn.