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6.60Standing Order Nos 12 and 13(1) provide:

‘12. When the House is sitting, no person shall be on the floor of the House except Lords of Parliament and such other persons as assist or attend the House. Upon an Order of the House, the persons in all or any of the galleries or in the spaces about the Throne and below the Bar are to withdraw. 13. (1) The admission of strangers to the Chamber and the precincts of the House, whether or not the House is sitting, shall be subject to such orders and rules as the House may make. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod shall give effect to such orders and rules and shall have such powers (including the power to take into custody) as are necessary for that purpose.’1

Provision is made for the admission to the precincts of the Chamber of various categories of persons. There is a Public Gallery. Lords Members' spouses and guests, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and others are regularly admitted below the Bar and in the galleries. There are places below the Bar and in the galleries for Members of the Commons. There is a box at the Throne end of the Chamber on the Temporal side, where staff of the House may sit. The press have their own gallery and technical facilities and access is provided for the broadcasting authorities. Government and (as long as the space is not needed by staff of the House) Opposition advisers are admitted to boxes in the House to enable them to communicate briefing material. Instances of misconduct by members of the public have occurred from time to time and the offenders have been removed.2


  1. 1. For the rules governing the admission of the public, see LJ (1972–73) 56. On 25 April 1916, the Lords resolved that the sitting of that day should be secret and the public was not admitted. A similar procedure was adopted on 20 June 1940 and on frequent occasions after those dates during the two World Wars (LJ (1916) 90; HL Deb (1916) 21, c 811; LJ (1939–40) 165). For war-time regulations relating to exclusion of the public during secret sessions of either House, see para 17.22. See also proceedings of the House of Lords with regard to a member of the Privy Council who had abused his privilege of admission to the steps of the Throne during a debate, LJ (1920) 405; HL Deb (1920) 41, cc 1026, 1237.
  2. 2. For example, 11 July 1957, 23 January 1985, 2 February 1988.