LONDON (AP) — An off-the-cuff rule change has Britain's convention-bound Parliament in a twist.
The speaker of the House of Commons says male lawmakers no longer are required to wear ties in the Commons chamber.
Asked about the issue Thursday after a Liberal Democrat legislator spoke while wearing an open-necked shirt, Speaker John Bercow said members of Parliament were expected to "dress in businesslike attire."
But, Bercow added: "Do I think it's essential that a member wears a tie? No."
The announcement caused a minor sensation in the tradition-abiding world of Parliament. Some praised Bercow for common sense, while other lamented a decline in sartorial standards.
Bercow added that female lawmakers are free to wear ties, or not, as they choose.
In the past, male lawmakers have occasionally been reprimanded for going tie-less.