Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 14:45 UK
Clerk of the House

The clerk of the House is a permanent official of the House of Commons who advises the Speaker and MPs on the rules, practice and procedures of the House.

The clerk sits at the table of the House, immediately below the Speaker's chair.

He or she has a number of formal functions, such as taking minutes of the decisions and proceedings of the Commons, signing Orders and reading out the Titles of Bills, and also overseeing the administration of the House.

The clerk has an official residence in the Palace of Westminster.

When at the Table of the House the clerk wears black robes and a wig.

Lace trimmings complete the look on state occasions.

The equivalent in the Lords is called the clerk of the Parliaments.

The most famous clerk of the House was Sir Thomas Erskine May (1871-86) who wrote the Parliamentary bible, Parliamentary Practice, which bears his name.

More from BBC Democracy Live
Compare who does what across the UK and Europe
Our A-Z of words used in the business of politics
Discover what BBC Democracy Live has to offer you


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific