How Do You Become Black Rod? A Former Holder Reveals How He Got The Job

14 October 2019, 15:32

Black Rod took centre stage during the Queen's Speech as he knocked on the door to the House of Commons. This former Black Rod explained how he got the job and what the position involves.

Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke used the ceremonial stick to bang on the door to be let in to the chamber of the House of Lords for the Queen's Speech - part of the pomp and circumstance of the State Opening of Parliament.

Lieutenant General David Leakey is a former Black Rod and he told Shelagh Fogarty what he did to get the job.

He said: "The process is straight-forward.

"Apart from his ceremonial role of banging on the door of the House of Commons and wearing the silk stockings and breeches, Black Rod is a chief of operations for the events in the House.

"He or she is a senior official in the House of Lords."

Lieutenant General David Leakey is a former Black Rod
Lieutenant General David Leakey is a former Black Rod. Picture: PA / LBC

He revealed the procedure to be appointed is surprisingly simple. He said: "The advert goes out, anyone can apply. I did.

"You go through a form of interview panels - plural. The first was a panel of five peers - a very gruelling experience.

"They wanted to know if I knew about Parliament, if I was hungry for the job. If I had the experience of working in a political complex and demanding people and egos."