The National:

YOU have to go way back to, oh, the 1990s, to find a Speaker of the House of Commons obeying the dress code of that office which included a jabot, tights, breeches and buckled shoes. All part of the rich tradition of the Mother of Parliaments.

Alternatively a load of old sartorial cobblers to give blokes ideas above their station. (Betty Boothroyd bodyswerved most of that lot during her term. Even an ex-Tiller girl chooses where and when to allow a daring flash of lower leg.)

John Bercow (below) scrapped most of the rest, favouring a suit and bright tie under the kind of black robe which made him look rather like the headmaster of a fairly trendy comprehensive. He was, technically, a Tory. His successor, Lindsay Hoyle, is, technically a Labour chap. Yet this is the Speaker who has felt it necessary to issue a new dress code for the Commons.

The National:

No jeans, no chinos, smart shoes, jackets and ties for the boys, no off-the-shoulder number or big handbags for the gals. Doubtless he was motivated by 18 months of Zooming when, in addition to being able to check what rubbish folk really read, you could run the rule over their choice of knitwear.

All he seems to have achieved is making the House of Commons seem even more of a thoroughly dated talking shop than it already was, not to mention putting yet more visual barriers between the elected and those they are supposed to be serving.

I imagine most constituents are less exercised by how high the polish is on their MP’s shoes, than what the latter plan to do about the fact that they can’t afford proper footwear for the weans going back to school.

For myself, I’ve never figured out why men want to strangle themselves with ropes round the neck when there are so many great shirts around of the open necked variety. Give me a smart sports shirt over an egg-stained tie any old day.

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My late and much lamented husband, being a cartoonist, felt tiewear was the ultimate joke and only had a mickey mouse one in silver and black for the kind of wedding where open necks would have upped the tutting count. (He did find one for the obligatory introductory meal with the matriarch, though admittedly it was narrow and leather. She coped.)

And if we’re talking respect for the privilege of being in the chamber, Lindsay old chap, what about that Rees Mogg eejit lounging along the front bench in a suit which looks like he nicked it from his grandad’s wardrobe.

The National:

From time to time MP’s manage to use their clobber to get a message firmly across: Caroline Lucas with her No More Page Three T-shirt, Hannah Bardell sporting a Scotland top (we were about to play England.) Harriet Harman also turned up a T-shirt with the legend “This is What a Feminist Looks Like”.

That noble gesture was somewhat diluted when Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband wore them too – though not in parliament – and the Mail on Sunday, was more interested in what the women making them were paid.

The bottom line is that people going to work in the Commons should wear what people going to work wear in other white-collar jobs. And these days, that means whatever looks most clean and reflects the temperature. Red faced and sweating in a suit is a poor sign of respect.