A Tory minister has been mocked for refusing to take questions from any MP too “sartorially challenged” to wear a tie.
Speaker John Bercow has relaxed the uniform code for male MPs, allowing them to sit in the House of Commons without a tie and breaking a long-standing convention.
But Transport Minister John Hayes is unimpressed. As he spoke at the dispatch box on Monday afternoon, he stopped to explain why he wasn’t giving way.
“There has been some debate in recent days in this chamber about sartorial standards,” he said.
“I ought to say, as a matter of courtesy, I will not be taking interventions by anyone who is not wearing a tie, on whatever side of the house they sit.
“As well as courtesy, I believe in generosity and anyone that is sartorially challenged or inadequate, I will provide a tie for.”
He produced a tie from his pocket and added: “Of course I exclude from that lady members of the house.”
Hayes was promptly mocked by two “lady members of the house”.
Labour’s Jess Phillips showed she had much higher sartorial standards than Hayes, as she would only take interventions from people wearing feather boas.
Her party colleague Stella Creasy said it should be mandatory for MPs to wear pants on their heads.
This, unfortunately, is probably impossible given Bercow still insists on MPs wearing “business-like attire”.