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Clerk of the House of Commons

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. The current Clerk of the House is Tom Goldsmith.

Clerk of the House

The Clerk of the House sits at the Table of the House, in 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 which they continue to do. This is not to be confused with Hansard, which is a record of what is said. The Clerks at the Table are consulted by the Chair, Ministers, Whips, and Members generally, on any matter that may arise in the conduct of a sitting.

The Clerks at the Table wear dark suits, black gowns and white bow ties (for men) or bands (for women). For the State Opening of Parliament and other State occasions, the Clerk of the House wears full Court dress with wing collar, white bow tie, black gown, a “bob” (barrister's) wig, and a lace jabot and cuffs.

Other roles

The Clerk of the House is, under the Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992, the Corporate Officer of the House with responsibility for entering into contracts and leases, as well as holding all the House's property (which, for example, makes the Clerk the legal owner of Big Ben!). As Accounting Officer for the House of Commons: Administration Estimate the Clerk has personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of the expenditure of public money.

House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service answers questions about the work, history and membership of the House.

Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
Text phone: Dial 18001 followed byour full number

Telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday).

Find out more

Video and audio

Video and audio

Access live and archived video and audio footage from Parliament.