For want of a jacket, British MP gets dressed down and bumped from Parliament call (VIDEO)

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Deputy Speaker of The House of Commons Eleanor Laing ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS / Free

A British MP lost his speaking slot during a House of Commons video call on Tuesday over his failure to wear a jacket – a fashion faux pas for any MP wishing not to fall afoul of parliamentary dress code in the Chamber.

Deputy Speaker of the House Eleanor Laing was about to introduce Jonathan Gullis, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, to speak in a video call debate on supporting businesses during the pandemic. Laing swiftly changed course when she noted the offending sartorial sin. 

“The honourable gentleman has to be dressed as if he were here in the chamber so we will not go to Stoke-on-Trent,” Laing said, and instead switched to the Labour MP for Chesterfield, Toby Perkins.

“You will see I have got all my clothes on,” Perkins then quipped before addressing the House.

After his remarks, Laing returned to Gullis, who she noted was “now properly dressed,” drawing howls of laughter from other MPs.

The deputy speaker explained that even when MPs participate in debates virtually it is “imperative” that they dress as they would in person. Wearing a suit and tie, Gullis then apologised, said “The jacket is now on,” and rejoined the debate.

The House of Commons code of conduct for MPs details no specific dress code, but jackets must be worn and business wear is advised.

“Members who fail to show respect to the House will not be called to speak by the Chair, and anyone showing flagrant disrespect in their manner of dress may be asked to withdraw from the Chamber,” the code reads.

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