Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Swearing in of MPs

It is a long standing legal requirement that Members of Parliament (House of Lords and House of Commons) are required to pledge allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen.

Based on their opposition to British Sovereignty over Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin representatives have traditionally refused to take their seats in the House of Commons.  It follows that they refuse to pledge allegiance to the Queen.  The consequence is that they may not participate in proceedings in Parliament - e.g. debates, voting, committees etc.   They are permitted to use office accommodation and to claim MP's expenses - Sinn Féin, Allowances and Access to Commons Facilities - 2006.

The required oath and procedure is specified by Acts of Parliament - the Promissory Oaths Act 1868 - Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866.  Oaths have to be sworn (or affirmed) in the manner specified in the Oaths Act 1978.

MPs seniority is determined by the order of swearing in.  Following the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, Dennis Skinner became the oldest serving MP, but did not become Father of the House despite being elected to parliament on the same day as Kaufman and Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke in 1970. This is the one who was sworn in first is considered to be the more senior.   Kenneth Clarke is now Father of the House.

On 8th June, Northern Ireland elected 10 DUP MPs, 7 Sinn Féin MPs and 1 Independent. 

The Scotsman 13th June 2017 - Sinn Féin say they will not take up Westminster seats

The Parliamentary Oath

Swearing in and the Parliamentary Oath


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