Whom a seat, a prayer: the bizarre traditions in the British parliament

With the crucial vote on the Brexit on the horizon, all eyes are on Tuesday again focused on the British parliament. A place with very specific traditions, that obstinate be honored.

After months of negotiations with Brussels should the 650 members of the British house of Commons are Tuesday to comment on the agreement that prime minister Theresa May reached with Brussels on the departure of the United …

After months of negotiations with Brussels should the 650 members of the British house of Commons are Tuesday to comment on the agreement that prime minister Theresa May reached with Brussels on the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. That it is a boisterous parliamentary session, now already fixed. But also the vote count itself is again a big event in itself. While the members of our (many) parliaments cast their vote by simply pressing a button, after which the result is directly visible on a large screen, keeping the ancient traditions verslingerde British stuck to a slightly more complicated procedure. When the president loudly, ‘division’ roars, the gate of the dam, as in these images.


The division bell that announces that a vote is reached, you can hear not only in the Houses of Parliament. In the wide area, there are fewer than 384 pubs, restaurants and hotels, each with their own call have which is also connected to the system. According to the law, the owners of these establishments responsible for the maintenance of their own to call.

Mandatory morning prayer

Weird, you say? It is not the only strange use of which the Uk mps swear by it. For example, the plenary room equipped to sword fights to avoid. Red lines on the floor at the central rostrum show where the members of parliament safe. Just far enough from each other – two swords and one inch apart – to each other not to be able to hit it with a sword. Members of parliament who are still with their sword to the parliament, which is by the way today still store to special coat hooks in the cloakroom.

Flowed there in the past blood in the British hemisphere, especially the chairman of the doomed. Between 1394 and 1535 were seven parlementsvoorzitters beheaded on the orders of the king, usually after a decision was taken that the prince was not satisfied. From that time dates the custom of a newly elected president the very first time in his voorzittersstoel is dragged – for such a dangerous job, who introduced him to the head can cost, he will not have the free will to exercise.

All the time winding up of a member of parliament, a crippling logistics problem and fix it. Because, while there are 650 elected members of parliament, counts the hemisphere only 427 seats. Therefore, during important debates – such as Tuesday also will be the case – very many members of parliament forced to the right. Who wants to be sure of a seat, the morning for a debate from 8 o’clock in the morning reserve a place. Only: who the waiter place actually wants to take over, that day is also obliged to participate in the daily morning prayer.

Door slamming

The power of the British royal family, is symbolized by the ceremonial scepter on the central pulpit. Parlementszittingen can not continue, and laws may not be adopted, when the scepter is not in its usual place. Deputies try a debate already in the war to send by running away with the scepter, such as in mid-december was the case.


Yet the British parliament at the same time likes to boast that it is completely independent of the House of Windsor. When the British monarch to the annual habit of the throne speech read in the house of lords, a parliamentary assistant – the black rod, named after the black rod he or she carries to the house of Commons, to the royal visit to announce. To that independence, to symbolize, is there time and time again, the heavy door of the parliament for his nose shut. The images below are from 1966, when the young Queen Elizabeth II a Queen’s Speech.


Laws on animal skin

How long that use will still stand? Still a long time, so it seems. In 2016, the proposal was discussed for approved bills no longer print to the calf – or goat skins. A use that was introduced because parchment, untanned animal skins (vellum) lasts longer than paper. By switching to plain paper, wanted certain members of parliament annually to 90,000 euros in savings. Everything today, it’s still digital? The proposal was after considerable protest overruled by then-prime minister David Cameron.

Also still strictly prohibited: to applaud. Further, the members of parliament have a lot of noise: for example, by hear, hear , to call, on the table, loudly bulderlachen or colleagues to laugh at. Or, as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn recently showed, by the prime minister a stupid woman to call – though he denied afterward that to have once said.


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