French MPs officially given permission to ditch ties and jackets

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French MPs officially given permission to ditch ties and jackets
Photo: AFP

French MPs can officially wear what they want to parliament (well, within reason) after authorities put an end to an ongoing row by confirming there was no rule to make them wear ties and suit jackets.


At a meeting on Wednesday the Office of the National Assembly issued a formal reminder that there were no uniform rules for French MPs.

"The office issues a reminder that no rules exist that state the dress code for MPs. There is nothing to oblige men to wear a jacket and tie in the chamber," read a statement.

The issue of a dress code in parliament arose after MPs wit the far left France Insoumise party sparked shock among some right wing deputies by turning up to parliament without ties or jackets.

France Insoumise MPs vehemently defended their right not to conform with Mélénchon himself comparing his MPs to the working class French Revolutionaries who were known as the "Sans Culottes", which translates as "without trousers".
"We've had the Sans Culottes, now we have the Sans Cravates (without ties)," joked Mélénchon.
But members of other parties in the Assembly were not amused.
A spokesperson for President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique en Marche (REM) party called the move an "insult". 
"Arguing that, 'we're here to represent the French working class so we're not going to wear ties', I think that it's an insult to those people," said the spokesperson.
Conservative Bernard Accoyer, an ex-president of the French parliament, has weighed in, saying that it represents "a lack of respect for the French people, the voters, democracy and the institution which is at the heart of the Republic."
Despite the uproar, there have been some far more dramatic cases of flouting the MPs' tradition of wearing a tie.
In 1985, Jack Lang, then minister for culture, sat in the French parliament wearing a Mao costume and in 1997, another MP arrived in workers overalls. 
The parliament office does however demand that MPs turn up in "respectable" outfits. So it's unlikely we'll see any mankinis in the National Assembly.


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