Speaker's Chair
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Speaker's Chair

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The Speaker is a Member of Parliament chosen to regulate the debates of the Commons, to uphold the rules of debate and to maintain the rights and privileges of the House. Speeches made in the House are, or should be, addressed to the Speaker.

On being elected, the Speaker ceases to be bound by party allegiance: his or her duty is held impartially to the House itself and its institutions.

The present Speaker's Chair replaces the one to A.W. Pugin's design which was in use from 1852 up to the bombing of the House of Commons in 1941. Before the fire of 1834 it was usual for the Speaker to take away his chair after his term of office ended, but this custom ceased after 1852.

This chair was donated to the rebuilt House of Commons by Australia, and is made of black bean from Northern Queensland. As the various lands of the British Empire acquired nation status, and set up their own Parliaments, it has been customary for Britain to present them with specially designed Speakers' Chairs.

Behind the Chair hangs a large green bag, in which Members place petitions on behalf of members of the public or organisations. In front of the chair is a small leather-covered footstool on which the Speaker kneels at prayers at the start of each sitting of Parliament.

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