Keeping covered in the Lords

Sartorial traditions recently discarded in the House of Commons are stoutly maintained in the Lords chamber –though it is not entirely immune from change where wigs are concerned, as Alistair Lexden revealed in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on 10 July.

SIR-- No one visiting the chamber of the House of Lords need fear that an entirely naked neck is a possible hazard, though in other parts of the premises it can sometimes be spotted (Letters, July 5).

Wigs, now unknown in the Commons, continue to adorn the heads of our distinguished clerks. But for the first time in centuries, uniformity reigns. The new Clerk of the Parliaments has decided to retain the barrister’s wig worn by his junior colleagues and forgo the High Court judge’s wig that reposed on his predecessors.

Since the cost of holding fast to tradition is apparently £12,000, one sees his point. But should we begrudge the price of retaining the appurtenances of ancient offices?

Lord Lexden
London SW1