Oath of Allegiance ‘Objectionable’

Lib Dem MP Norman Baker has called for reform of the Commons oath:

"Would you agree that in the 21st century it’s somewhat anachronistic, not to say objectionable that when MPs arrive here with a proper democratic mandate, having been elected, they are not allowed to take their seat until they have sworn the Oath of Allegiance to an unelected institution,” he said.

“Wouldn’t it be more appropriate in these days for an oath to be taken to follow the law, uphold democracy and serve one’s constituents?” (PA)

In response, Leader of the Commons Geoff Hoon had this to say:

“This was a great constitutional debate in the 19th century. I see no particular desire at the present time in the 21st century for that great constitutional debate to be repeated.

“But if I’m wrong and there is a large body of opinion in the House that wishes to revisit that great constitutional debate, I would be willing to raise it with ministerial colleagues.”

It seems New Labour modernisation doesn’t extend to those institutions which underpin the power and patronage of the executive.

It’s interesting that Mr Hoon doesn’t think we need a debate because we had one a hundred years ago, before the introduction of universal suffrage.






2 responses to “Oath of Allegiance ‘Objectionable’”

  1. Nathan avatar

    I agree with you Tom, its high time that the government considered the scrapping of the oath of allegiance to the crown. Norman Baker is spot on with his comments – it is ‘objectionable’ that those who sincerely believe the monarchy is not the most just or the most efficient system of government are automatically disbarred from serving their constituents. It smacks of the sort of discrimination that once kept Roman Catholics or nonconformists out of public life.
    I’m sure there’s more Republicans than Norman Baker in the Houses of Parliament. Round my neck of the woods, 2 Labour MPs (Roger Godsiff, Lynne Jones) have gone on record to say that they prefer a Republican system of government. Its just that they, like Norman Baker MP, override their consciences and take the oath in order to do the job they have been elected to perform. That, as some readily admit, makes them hypocrites. And I believe that it is a bad precedent to set in a profession which should be firmly anchored in a rigorous emotional and intellectual honesty.

  2. Tom Griffin avatar

    The Republic website has a few MPs on their list of supporters, although it seems not to have been updated since the election.

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