The glare of television may put yet another grand old British tradition on the scrap heap, but not without a fight from Conservative politicians.
The speaker of the House of Parliament, Bernard Weatherill, still wears the clothes of parliamentary representatives of the 17th and 18th centuries. His gray wig, silk robe, white band, black buckled shoes and a three-cornered hat are part of the tradition of the British parliamentary system.But two opposition Labor Party members of Parliament, James Lamond and Harry Ewing, think the speaker's image needs a makeover.
In a parliamentary motion, they moved that the speaker's official garb be replaced by a dark suit, the kind that hordes of office workers in London and across the world might wear every day.
Preposterous, say traditionalists.
"The speaker has worn traditional dress for a long time, in the same way that the monarchy, judges and bishops and mayors have," John Stokes, a Tory party backbencher, told the The Daily Telegraph.
"Why should we change?"
He predicted the motion would be defeated in an upcoming debate.
But some members of Parliament think the speaker looks ridiculous on television, which began transmitting parliamentary sessions in November 1989 after typically lengthy debate.
"We have become aware while watching television, looking through different eyes perhaps, how outdated the speaker's dress looks," said Lamond. "I think he gives the impression that we are even more old-fashioned."
Weatherill, with his resonating cries of "Order, Order" in an often rambunctious house, has become a household figure in a nation where politics usually is played behind closed doors.
The challenge to yet another tradition has come about because Weatherill, speaker since 1983, is due to retire at the next general election.