The parliament.uk website describes the Serjeant at Arms as the official responsible for keeping order within the Commons part of the parliamentary estate.

The page describes various ceremonial duties that fall to the Serjeant, including processing with the House of Commons mace at the daily opening of the House, and the power to escort people from the Chamber when called upon by the Speaker. Historical powers of the role are also mentioned.

Does the role still have a functional purpose today, or are the duties purely ceremonial, as the link seems to suggest? When was the last time that the Serjeant was required to escort someone from the Chamber?

  • 3
    Maybe not exactly what you are looking for but Sergeant-at-Arms for the Canadian parliament Kevin M. Vickers shot and killed a gunman who had gained access to the House of Commons. Feb 28, 2020 at 19:24
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    With a J, really? Gotta love the ever-bizarre UK English spellings ;-) Esp being French, as colour both misspells couleur and doesn't match English phonetics one whit. Feb 29, 2020 at 16:25
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica yeah English is a pretty ridiculous language through and through
    – Dan Scally
    Mar 1, 2020 at 7:08

1 Answer 1


There is still some functional purpose where the Speaker can request certain things of the Serjeant at Arms. Last year, there were many examples of a division taking a longer time than usual, and the Speaker would ask the Serjeant to investigate the reasons for this and to report back.

More seriously, the Serjeant can be called upon to enforce certain warrants issued by the Speaker. Most recently, in November 2018, the Serjeant was sent to the hotel of a US businessman who was staying in London, and escorted him to Parliament so that he could surrender documents related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal (BBC News).

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