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 John Benger.
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.
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.