New Black Rod takes up his staff

April 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Lieutenant-General Sir Freddie Viggers KCB today took office as Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.

He succeeded Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Willcocks.

“The post of Black Rod involves administrative and ceremonial responsibilities and combines appointment, in respect of parliamentary duties, by the House of Lords and, in respect of its royal duties, by the Crown. Black Rod is employed by the House of Lords,” according to the parliament website.

He is best-known for his role in the State Opening of Parliament.

He is sent to summon the House of Commons to the Lords chamber and the door of the lower chamber is slammed in his face as a sign of the primacy of the Commons. He then uses his staff to bang on the door three times.

Here is an interview with Sir Michael from 2007:


Entry filed under: Commons, Lords, Procedure. Tags: , .

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