Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)

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United Kingdom
Serjeant at Arms of the
House of Commons
House of Commons of the United Kingdom.svg
Kamal El-Hajji

since 2015
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Reports to Clerk of the Parliaments
Appointer The Crown (de jure)
Clerk of the Parliaments (de facto)
Formation 1415
First holder Nicholas Maundit
Deputy Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod
Website Serjeant at Arms

The Serjeant at Arms of the British House of Commons is a parliamentary official responsible for order in the House of Commons. The office dates to 1415 and traditionally included responsibility for security. The role is now mainly ceremonial.

The House of Lords also had a Serjeant-at-Arms (the title was often distinguished by the use of hyphens), dating also from the 15th Century. His duties were merged in 1971 with those of Black Rod.[1]

Traditionally the post of Serjeant at Arms was filled by a retired military officer, but in 2008 a civil servant, Jill Pay, was selected as the first woman to hold the appointment. At the same time the job was split, with many of the duties transferred to the new post of chief executive.[2]

In 2012 Lawrence Ward, Assistant Serjeant at Arms from 2008, Deputy Serjeant at Arms 2011, was appointed to the role. [3] The current (2015) holder of the post is Mohammed Amal (Kamal) El-Hajji, is a Parliamentary Senior official, responsible for Security and Order in the House of Commons Chamber. The role is now mainly ceremonial. Previously head of front of house security in relation with the Private Office and VIP's at the Ministry of Justice headquarters.[4]


Jill Pay, Serjeant at Arms (far right) during an address to both Houses of Parliament by Barack Obama in Westminster Hall, 2011

The duties of the Serjeant at Arms are partly ceremonial. The Serjeant at Arms carries the mace during the opening of Parliament and is also responsible for maintaining order during debates in the House of Commons, escorting Members out of the Chamber if ordered to do so by the Speaker. Another role of the Serjeant at Arms is to enforce the warrants of the Speaker in summoning a witness to testify before a select-committee of the house. While serving the warrant and encouraging a witness to attend parliament "the Serjeant or his appointee may call on the full assistance of the civil authorities, including the police."[5]


The Serjeant at Arms wears traditional court dress and carries a sword,[6] and is traditionally the only person allowed inside the House of Commons Chamber armed.[citation needed]

List of Serjeants at Arms[edit]

Sir Henry Erskine, Serjeant-at-Arms, UK House of Commons. Caricatured by Vanity Fair, 1894

See also[edit]


  1. ^ House of Lords; Serjeant-at-Arms at
  2. ^ Groves, Jason (13 October 2011). "First female Serjeant at Arms quits Commons just days after powerful clerk becomes her boss". Daily Mail. London. 
  3. ^ - 16 April 2012 - Serjeant at Arms appointed
  4. ^ - 22 December 2015 - Serjeant at Arms appointed
  5. ^ - September 2010
  6. ^ Serjeant at Arms Archived 9 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Serjeants at Arms to the Speaker" (PDF). Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  8. ^ History of Parliament
  9. ^ History of Parliament
  10. ^ History of Parliament
  11. ^ History of Parliament
  12. ^ Thepeerage
  13. ^ "Captain Gosset has resigned". The Spectator. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Thepeerage
  15. ^ New Serjeant at Arms appointed BBC News