A guide to the House of Commons Chamber
The thing about the House of Commons Chamber is you get a sense of the power of it; how the decisions that are taken in this place affect everybody’s lives. So the stakes are always high. It’s always a big occasion.
Lawrence Ward, former Serjeant at Arms
Who’s who – roles of people featured in the videoThe Speaker
The Speaker is an MP who has been elected by other MPs to act as Chair during debates in the House of Commons. They are responsible for ensuring that the rules are observed and order is maintained in the Chamber. When a Speaker is elected they lose their party affiliation and become politically impartial.The Deputy Speaker
In the House of Commons there are three Deputy Speakers who are elected by MPs to assist the Speaker in chairing debates in the Chamber and to perform a range of other duties. Although they retain their party affiliation they must withdraw from an active political role and, like the Speaker, become politically impartial on taking up the position.The Chairman of Ways and Means
The Chairman of Ways and Means is the principal Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons. As well as deputising for the Speaker they have specific responsibilities such as chairing Committees of the whole House, coordinating the sittings in Westminster Hall and overseeing all matters connected with Private Bills.The Serjeant at Arms
The Serjeant at Arms is responsible for the order and security of the House of Commons including maintaining order in the Chamber, galleries and committee rooms of the House and controlling access to the parliamentary estate.The Serjeant at Arms also performs ceremonial duties, including carrying the mace in the Speaker’s Procession each day. The Serjeant at Arms is the only person in the House of Commons allowed to carry a sword.Clerk
Clerks are senior officials in the House of Commons. Their job is to give advice on the process and rules during debates.
Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, Processes and Public Participation
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