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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Tie move gets MP in a knot
MPs in the Commons
Billy Bragg says MPs look male, pale and stale
An MP who tried to make Parliament look less buttoned up and stuffy by shedding his tie has been ticked off by the Commons speaker.

Kevin Brennan has called for Thursdays to be "dress down" days at Westminster but he fell foul of Michael Martin when he tried to put his words into practice.


What my feeling would be is - jackets and tie for honourable gentlemen

Michael Martin
Commons speaker
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg earlier this year accused MPs that their be suited image looked male, pale and stale.

This week, a government report revealed that most 14-20-year-olds thought politicians were boring, out of touch, long-winded and untruthful.

Tory jeers

In the wake of his dress down calls last week, Mr Brennan appeared in the Commons on Thursday wearing a dark suit, a blue business shirt but no tie.

That provoked jeers from Conservative MPs for this breach of the usual Commons uniform.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant was so concerned by the move that he made a point of order to the speaker.

"I notice ... for the first time in my experience, an MP spoke in the chamber without a tie," said Mr Fabricant.

"Now that may or may not be the new standard ... but I thought we always used to have to wear a jacket and tie at least."

Stars and stripes

Speaker Mr Martin agreed, saying: "What my feeling would be is - jackets and tie for honourable gentlemen."

The sartorial putdown came as some MPs marked American Independence Day with a blaze of colourful neckwear.

Shadow Commons Leader Eric Forth, whose bright ties are notorious, joined Mr Fabricant in sporting the stars and stripes around his neck.

See also:

04 Jul 02 | UK Politics
04 Jul 02 | UK Politics
07 Mar 02 | UK Politics
15 May 00 | UK Politics
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