There are many unusual things about working in the Palace of Westminster. The police officers with guns who guard the entrances. The building which has been patched and mended since 1860 – I once went past an open door that is usually closed, and glimpsed what looked like the set of a steampunk film.
Then there are the rules about what you can wear and where. One of the small but significant improvements to the quality of my working life happened last year thanks to Jared O’Mara, the Labour MP who toppled Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam. O’Mara cannot wear a shirt and tie because his cerebral palsy means he cannot do up the buttons. The speaker of the house, therefore, ruled male MPs were allowed in the chamber without a tie; after a hurried consultation it was confirmed that this applied to the journalists who watch proceedings from the gallery too.
However, I hadn’t realised that we still have to wear a jacket, so I was asked to go out and put mine on at one point during this hot summer.
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