Black Rod job to be advertised publicly

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Indy Politics

The post of Black Rod, the most senior official in the House of Lords, is to be advertised publicly for the first time, parliamentary authorities announced yesterday.

The post of Black Rod, the most senior official in the House of Lords, is to be advertised publicly for the first time, parliamentary authorities announced yesterday.

In the open competition for the post, whose best-known duty involves the summoning of MPs to hear the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, the post may also be offered to a woman for the first time since Henry VIII introduced the position.

Unlike the historical decree, which states that the post should be filled by a "gentleman famous in arms and blood", the advertisement in the national press today will be less exclusive. The job description lists parliamentary duties, ceremonial and administrative, including responsibility for security arrangements at the Palace of Westminster.

If a woman were appointed, the name of the job would have be changed from Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to simply Usher of the Black Rod and the official dress would need to be redesigned.

The reform of the traditional appointments procedure comes with the retirement of Genf Sir Edward Jones, who is due to leave the post next May.

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