A Sheffield peer thought he would be kicked out of the House of Lords – for not wearing a tie.
Baron Scriven of Hunters Bar – also known as Paul Scriven, Lib Dem councillor for Ecclesall – has criticised the Lords for being “antiquated” following the row.
He made history by becoming the first man in the modern House of Lords, other than clergymen, to speak without a tie in a debate.
He’s now revealed the backlash and cat-calling he faced when he removed his neckwear.
“There are arcane rules about wearing a tie but I felt it was stifling my personality,” he said. “I no longer wear ties, only for the occasional wedding, but I wanted to be respectful to the institution so I wrote to the Lord Speaker that I would be coming in without one.
“It was like World War Three had started. I had a barrage of messages from the Whips and authorities about the rules and on the afternoon I was going in, the House authorities wanted to know if I would be wearing a tie and if not, they may not let me in.
“The door staff have to enforce rules and I didn’t want to put them in a difficult position but when I got to the great big doors they allowed me in without a word being said. I sat down but there were all kinds of tuts and groans and a sharp intake of breath from the other members.”
House of Lord convention says members must wear business attire but there is no specific rules on ties.
Paul added: “When I stand up now, some people still shout “tie” at me. There was a question on Bahrain about families being tortured and a number of the Lords shouted “tie” but what is their priority? A tie or torture? They’re shouting about a lack of silk around my neck rather than nooses around victims’ necks.
“The House of Lords runs for itself, not for the modern world. It reinforces my view that it’s an antiquated industry that needs abolishing and people need to be elected so there is real representation.”