Jeremy Vine squirms as caller brands him a scruff bag in Commons clothing row

Jeremy Vine caller says the presenter looks like a 'scruff'

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Jeremy Vine and guests debated Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s instructing MPs to smarten up when returning to Commons this week in a reminder the days of Zooming in to Parliament are over. Brian from Norfolk called Jeremy Vine on 5 to insist that MPs and TV presenters should dress smarter in their jobs. Referring to the host, he said: “I think you look a right scruff this morning!

“I can’t agree, you’ve got a black jacket on, you’ve got jeans which look ridiculous, a shirt which also looks ridiculous and you haven’t got a tie on.

“Look at you! You look like a right scruff bag like that, don’t you?”

Guest Owen Jones interjected: “I think he looks really stylish.

“Maybe a little bit like an elf.”

Mr Vine responded: “Briain, would you like me to come on one day in a suit and tie?”

The caller continued: “Yes, I would like to see it just to see what you look that.

“And the other one, Mike – he’s going his shirt buttons undone. That’s not decent in my eyes.

“He got more hair on his face than his chest.”

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It comes as Sir Linsday’s new guide states MPs should remember “the way in which you dress should demonstrate respect for your constituents, for the House and for the institution of Parliament in the life of the nation”.

“Members are expected to wear business attire in and around the Chamber,” it says. “Jeans, chinos, sportswear or any other casual trousers are not appropriate. T-shirts and sleeveless tops are not business attire.

“Smart/business shoes are expected to be worn. Casual shoes and trainers are not appropriate. Men are encouraged to wear a tie, and jackets must be worn.

“It is a privilege to serve as a Member of Parliament and your dress, language and conduct should reflect this.”

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The advice also represents a crackdown from certain moments when parliamentary fashion made headlines before the pandemic as well, such as when then MP Tracy Brabin was at the centre of a storm for wearing an off-the-shoulder black dress in the chamber in February last year.

Sir Lindsay has also moved to clamp down on rowdiness in the Commons. Singing is to be banned, potentially averting a repeat of the scenes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament in September, 2019, when Labour MPs protested by singing songs including the Red Flag and Scots Wha Hae.

The new rules state that “singing and chanting are not permitted in the chamber” and that “clapping is also not allowed as it eats into the time available for debate”.

MPs have also been told to pay attention: “When listening to a debate you should not read books or newspapers or obviously devote yourself to your phone or other electronic device.”

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