Sir: Your article "Irvine tires of attire" (14 October) implies that the Lord Chancellor plans to cease wearing his traditional dress altogether and replace it with a lounge suit.
The proposals the Lord Chancellor made to the Lords' Procedure Committee were that: when he was acting as Speaker on the Woolsack, breeches, tights and buckled shoes would be replaced with black trousers and shoes; he would continue to wear Court dress: wig, gown, waistcoat and top coat. On important parliamentary occasions, he would continue to wear full ceremonial dress.
In order to adopt a more consistent approach when the Lord Chancellor acts as the Government's lead minister in the Lords (eg when promoting a Bill), he should be able to speak from the Front Bench with the advantage of the dispatch box on which to lay papers, and not have to wear his wig and gown. At present the Lord Chancellor does not wear wig and gown at Committee Stage, but does so on Second Reading, Report Stage and Third Reading. Adoption of this proposal would make it easier to distinguish between the different roles of Speaker and government minister in charge of a Bill.
Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor
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