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THE UK SECTION: SERGEANT AT ARMS

Over the centuries the Sergeant has been responsible for carrying out the orders of the House, including making arrests. in 1543 the Sergeant arrested City dignitaries who had ordered the detention of an MP for debt. Today the Sergeant's duties are rather more modest. He must ensure the attendance of those who have been summoned to appear before the Commons, for whatever reason. In 1957, for example, John Junor was brought by him to the entrance (the bar) of the Commons chamber. There Junor duly apologised for an article in the Sunday Express, of which he was editor, which appeared to be in contempt of the House in criticising petrol allowances given to constituency political parties: this was during the Suez crisis, when petrol rationing was in force.
The Sergeant at Arms , usually a retired officer of the armed forces, is also responsible for keeping order within the precincts of the Commons, and so preventing public disturbances.


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