Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not really one to talk about dress sense, Sir, but I noticed yesterday that a Member was allowed to ask a question in the Chamber without wearing a tie. I have no particular view on that, but have the rules on it changed?
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
Women don’t have to wear a tie.
The short answer to the hon. Gentleman is that this is something provided for, if memory serves me correctly, in the conventions and courtesies of the House. The traditional approach was that a Member—effectively, as was implied by the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), a male Member—would be wearing a tie—[Interruption.] There is absolutely no obligation on female Members not to wear ties if they so choose. I think the general expectation is that Members should dress in business-like attire. So far as the Chair is concerned, I must say to the hon. Gentleman, although I fear this will gravely disquiet him, that 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 centre stage. So am I minded not to call a Member simply because that Member is not wearing a tie? No. I think there has always been some discretion for the Chair to decide what is seemly and proper. Members should not behave in a way that is disrespectful of their colleagues or of the institution, but do I think it is essential that a Member wears a tie? No. Opinions on the hon. Gentleman’s choice of ties do tend to vary, and it has to be said that the same could be said of my own.