Brid MP ‘kidnapped’ at Queen’s Palace

Greg Knight MP outside Buckingham Palace.
Greg Knight MP outside Buckingham Palace.

When Parliament reassembles on May 8 to hear the Queen’s Speech, Bridlington MP Greg Knight will be locked up.

In a convention dating back to the 17th Century, when Charles I relations with Parliament were strained, the Monarch’s visit to the Palace of Westminster only takes place when a ‘hostage’ has been handed over from the House of Commons to guarantee her safety.

This ‘honour’ goes to a senior member of the government whips’ office who, by convention, is the vice-chamberlain of the Royal household - the current holder of which is Bridlington MP Mr Knight.

The current post-holder is Mr Knight MP, and so, on the morning of the State Opening of Parliament, he will make his way to Buckingham Palace to be symbolically locked up until the Queen returns.

Mr Knight, a former solicitor, is accompanied to the Palace by two senior whips, the Deputy Chief Whip, John Randall MP and the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Alastair Carmichael MP, who both return from the Palace with the Queen, escorting her to Parliament.

Mr Knight is left behind to spend most of the day in Buckingham Palace in the presence of the Lord Chamberlain.

Mr Knight performs several other duties during the year.

As well as his full-time duties as a whip, which involves managing House of Commons business, he has to write to the Queen daily when the House is sitting to keep her informed on Commons proceedings.

Also, several times a year, he reports back to the House of Commons the decisions made by the Monarch.