Clerk of the House of Commons
|Under Clerk of the Parliaments
To wait upon the Commons
|Office of the Clerk and Chief Executive|
|Residence||Outbuilding, Palace of Westminster|
|Inaugural holder||Robert de Melton|
first permanent appointment
The Clerk of the House is the principal constitutional adviser to the House, and adviser on all its procedure and business, including Parliamentary privilege, and frequently appears before Select and Joint Committees examining constitutional and Parliamentary matters. As with all the members of the House Service, he is politically entirely impartial and is not a civil servant. Until 1 January 2008, when the reforms to the House's governance proposed by the Tebbit Review of management and services of the House were implemented, the Clerk was the head of the Clerk's Department.
He sits at the Table of the House, in the right-hand chair (the left-hand chair, looking towards the Speaker’s Chair) for part of every sitting. The historic role of the Clerks at the Table is to record the decisions of the House (not what is said, which is recorded by Hansard), and this they (but not the Clerk) still do. The Clerks at the Table used to wear Court dress with wing collar and white tie, a “bob” (barrister’s) wig and a silk gown, however, as of February 2017 the Clerks will only have to wear gowns. For the State Opening of Parliament and other State occasions, the Clerk of the House wears full Court dress with breeches, and a lace jabot and cuffs.
The office is currently held by David Natzler who replaced Sir Robert Rogers KCB, who retired on 31 August 2014. Natzler occupied the post initially on an interim basis, and was appointed permanently in 2015.
List of Clerks of the House of Commons
- Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992, section 2(2): "The individual who for the time being is by letters patent appointed to the office of the Under Clerk of the Parliaments (and who is customarily referred to as the Clerk of the House of Commons) shall be the Corporate Officer of the Commons."
- "Speaker Bercow says Commons clerks' wigs to get chop – BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
- "Clerk of the House and Chief Executive". Parliament.uk. 24 July 2014.
- "Speaker's Statement". parliament.uk. 1 September 2014.
- "House of Commons Commission decisions, 16 October 2014". parliament.uk. 20 October 2014.
- "House of Commons Governance Committee". parliament.uk.
- "no. 27164". The London Gazette. 13 February 1900. p. 999.