Read transcripts of debates in both Houses
Produced by Commons Library, Lords Library and Parliamentary Office Science and Technology
Search for Members by name, postcode, constituency and party
Learn about their experience, knowledge and interests
Celebrating people who have made Parliament a positive, inclusive working environment
Four staff networks for people to discuss and consider issues.
Contact your MP or a Member of the House of Lords about an issue that matters to you
Sign up for the Your Parliament newsletter to find out how you can get involved
Take a tour of Parliament and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea by the River Thames
See some of the sights you’ll encounter on a tour of Parliament
Book a school visit, classroom workshop or teacher-training session
Access videos, worksheets, lesson plans and games
Amongst Black Rod's ceremonial duties, the best known function is the summoning of the House of Commons to the House of Lords at the State Opening of Parliament when the Commons are called to hear the Queen’s Speech. This elaborate ritual involves Black Rod walking from the Lords Chamber, through the Central Lobby, down the Commons corridor to the Member’s Lobby. As Black Rod crosses the Lobby, the door of the Commons Chamber is slammed in his face. He knocks three times and is then admitted and advances to the Table of the House and summons the Commons who then follow him back to the Lords Chamber.
This picture shows Sir George Mills (1902-1971), Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod 1963-1970, in the chamber of the House of Commons.
The custom of Black Rod knocking three times dates back to 1641, when, as noted in the House of Commons Journal: ‘Mr Maxwell, coming to the House, with a Message, without his Black Rod; and coming in, before he was called in: Exception was taken to both.’
Find out more about the Parliamentary Archives