British politics took yet another surprise turn on Thursday when parliament scrapped a requirement for male lawmakers to wear ties, a move greeted with both concern and celebration at Westminster.
Speaker John Bercow often heard calling for “Order!” among the rowdy MPs said he did not think it essential for parliamentarians to don a tie.
“It seems to me that as long as a member arrives in the House in what might be thought to be business-like attire, the question of whether that member is wearing a tie is not absolutely front and center stage,” he told the House of Commons.
The fashion revolution was started by Liberal Democrat lawmaker Tom Brake who dared address the Commons without a tie, prompting MP Peter Bone from the ruling Conservative Party to ask whether the rules had changed.
While there is no obligatory parliamentary dress code, a jacket and tie is customary for men while women are expected to dress equally formally.
The new move was also applied to political reporters, who have been refused entry when tie-less in the past, to mixed response.
“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 Telegraph newspaper’s Christopher Hope wrote on Twitter.
The Sun’s Matt Dathan praised parliament for “finally moving out of the 19th century”, while Buzzfeed’s Alex Spence delighted in taking his tie off and being given a thumbs-up by the doorman.
The overhaul is the latest move by Bercow to bring parliament into the modern day, having dropped the requirement for clerks to wear wigs earlier this year.