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Clerk of the House of Commons

For the Canadian official, see Clerk of the House of Commons (Canada).
Under Clerk of the Parliaments
To wait upon the Commons
David Natzler

since 23 March 2015 (acting from 1 September 2014)
Office of the Clerk and Chief Executive
Residence Outbuilding, Palace of Westminster
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder Robert de Melton
Formation 1363
first permanent appointment

The Clerk of the House of Commons is the chief executive of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and before 1707 of the House of Commons of England.

The formal name for the position held by the Clerk of the House of Commons is Under Clerk of the Parliaments.[1] The chief clerk of the House of Lords is the Clerk of the Parliaments.


The Clerk of the House is the principal constitutional adviser to the House, and adviser on all its procedure and business, including Parliamentary privilege, and frequently appears before Select and Joint Committees examining constitutional and Parliamentary matters. As with all the members of the House Service, he is politically entirely impartial and is not a civil servant. Until 1 January 2008, when the reforms to the House's governance proposed by the Tebbit Review of management and services of the House were implemented, the Clerk was the head of the Clerk's Department.[citation needed]

He sits at the Table of the House, in the right-hand chair (the left-hand chair, looking towards the Speaker’s Chair) for part of every sitting. The historic role of the Clerks at the Table is to record the decisions of the House (not what is said, which is recorded by Hansard), and this they (but not the Clerk) still do. The Clerks at the Table wear Court dress with wing collar and white tie, a “bob” (barrister’s) wig and a silk gown. For the State Opening of Parliament and other State occasions, the Clerk of the House wears full Court dress with breeches, and a lace jabot and cuffs.[2]


The office is currently held by David Natzler who replaced Sir Robert Rogers KCB, who retired on 31 August 2014. Natzler occupied the post initially on an interim basis, and was appointed permanently in 2015.[2][3] [4]

14th century

  • 1363 — Robert de Melton
  • 1385 — John de Scardeburgh

15th century

  • 1414 — Thomas Haseley
  • 1440 — John Dale
  • 1461 — Thomas Bayen

16th century

  • 1504 — Thomas Hylton
  • 1510 — William Underhill
  • 1515 — Robert Ormeston
  • 1547 — John Seymour
  • 1570 — Fulk Onslow

17th century

  • 1603 — Ralph Ewens
  • 1611 — William Pinches
  • 1612 — John Wright
  • 1639 — Henry Elsyng the younger
  • 1649 — Henry Scobell
  • 1658 — John Smythe
  • 1659 — John Phelips
  • 1659 — Thomas St. Nicholas
  • 1660 — William Jessop
  • 1661 — William Goldsborough
  • 1678 — William Goldsborough the Younger
  • 1683 — Paul Jodrell

18th century


  1. ^ Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992, section 2(2): "The individual who for the time being is by letters patent appointed to the office of the Under Clerk of the Parliaments (and who is customarily referred to as the Clerk of the House of Commons) shall be the Corporate Officer of the Commons."
  2. ^ a b "Clerk of the House and Chief Executive". 24 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "House of Commons Commission decisions, 16 October 2014". 20 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "House of Commons Governance Committee". 

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