Yorkshire MP taken hostage by the Palace

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A YORKSHIRE MP found himself at the centre of one of the strangest traditions of the State Opening of Parliament yesterday when he was ‘taken hostage’ by Buckingham Palace.

East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight, a Tory whip who has held the honorary title of Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household since last year’s Government reshuffle, was locked away in the Palace while the Queen made her traditional annual speech in the House of Lords.

The convention dates back to the 17th Century, when the hostile relations between Charles I and his Parliament meant the King refused to visit the Palace of Westminster until a ‘hostage’ from the House of Commons had been handed over to guarantee his safety.

Speaking after his ordeal yesterday, Mr Knight was forced to admit he “didn’t see a dungeon, a cellar, handcuffs or a rack the whole time I was there”.

He said: “They treated me very well. They very kindly put me in a comfortable sitting room, and I was able to watch the Queen on television. I was also offered some liquid refreshment during the ordeal.

“I had a chat with the Queen before she left, and with Prince Charles when they got back.

“I had to go in morning dress. It’s a bit of tradition and it’s not as if it happens every week.”