Appointment to the post of Black Rod

17 December 2008

The appointment of Lieutenant-General Sir Freddie Viggers KCB as Black Rod is announced by Buckingham Palace.

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.

The appointment procedure was as follows:

  • November 2008: Announcement and advertisement in the national press. (The post was advertised in the Times and the Guardian and trawled in the Diplomatic Service, Home Civil Service, the Armed Services and the Police Services.)
  • 26 November 2008: Closing date for applications.
  • 8 December 2008: Shortlist of six candidates, interviewed by a panel comprising: the Lord Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara), the Clerk of the Parliaments (Mr Michael Pownall) and an independent member, Baroness Prashar, former First Civil Service Commissioner).
  • 15 December 2008: Shortlist of two preferred candidates interviewed by the Lord Speaker, the Leaders of the parties in the Lords and the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers.
  • 16 December 2008: Two candidates in order of preference submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, Earl Peel, for approval by HM The Queen.
  • 18 December 2008: Announcement of appointment by the Queen, as Black Rod and Serjeant at Arms, and by the Clerk of the Parliaments on behalf of the House of Lords administration.

Sir Freddie will succeed Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Willcocks, the present incumbent, in May, when Sir Michael retires.

Post of Black Rod

The post of Black Rod combines the duties of Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and Serjeant-at-Arms at the House of Lords, appointed by the Crown, and Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain, appointed by the Lord Great Chamberlain. The main responsibilities of the post, however, are carried out in the House of Lords for which the post reports to the Clerk of the Parliaments and, on security matters, to the Lord Speaker.

The post combines Royal and ceremonial/events duties with security and management responsibilities.

Further information:

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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