Theresa May was spotted sitting on the steps of The Queen’s throne in the House of Lords on Monday during the debate on the triggering of Article 50.
Mrs May is the first Prime Minister to exercise her rights to sit on the steps of the throne in living memory.
She is entitled to sit on the steps in her capacity as Privy Counseller. Any member of the Privy Council can do so, as can a limited number of other people including the eldest child of peers, Black Rod, the Dean of Westminster and peers in Ireland.
Mrs May is not entitled to go anywhere else in the chamber as only peers can do so. Similarly, members of the House of Lords cannot enter the House of Commons.
Under no circumstances can anybody other than the Monarch sit on the sovereign’s throne. It is only sat on once a year when The Queen visits the chamber for the State Opening of Parliament.
The Prime Minister stayed in the House of Lords to listen to two opening speeches. The debate is continuing into the night and is expected to conclude at around midnight.
Mrs May wanted to attend the debate in person because she does not want the Lords to intervene in her plans to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty next month.
Once Article 50 is triggered, the government officially notifies their intent to leave the European Union.
The lower house (the House of Commons) passed the government bill to trigger Article 50 earlier this month. The upper house (House of Lords) now need to approve the bill before it is sent to the monarch to sign.
The upper house reviews and amends bills from the lower house. This is in order to act as a check for the House of Commons.