In Britain, members of Parliament must swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen (or the current Monarch).

Is there a mechanism by which this requirement could be removed? Presumably such a proposition would have to be raised in the Parliament, but to do so would surely break the oath that the member already took while entering.

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    Why would removing the oath be disloyal?
    – Caleth
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 10:28
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    @colmde Calling for the removal of the oath (so that future MPs will not be bound by it) is not the same as saying you are no longer going to be bound by the oath you have already taken. Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 20:07
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    @user3153372: Indeed, it doesn't release from the previously-taken oath, but it might be a violation of that previous oath (to install a government that doesn't owe allegiance to the monarch).
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 22:04
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    Context: Sinn Fein are not taking the seats they have won, as that would require swearing allegiance to the Queen, which is kind of nonsensical if you want to reunify Ireland. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 8:06
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    Minor quibble - MPs don't have to swear an oath, they can instead chose to affirm their loyalty. This provision was bought in to accommodate quakers (who don't swear oaths), but has been extended so anyone can opt to affirm rather than swear (an option many MPs take). Similar provisions exist in the UK in other contexts where you might expect to swear an oath, e.g. juries.
    – stuart10
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


The reason why parliament members in the United Kingdom must swear allegiance to the monarch is because the parliament decided that. The Oaths Act 1978 mandates who needs to swear what, when and how. It repealed and amended a series of previous oath acts from 1961, 1909, 1888 and 1838.

The parliament could change the oath to the monarch yet again by making yet another oaths act, if they were so inclined. Or even abolish the practice altogether for the next parliament. Whether or not voting for that would be a violation of their oath would be a question each parliament member would have to answer for themselves.

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    Quite. It wasn't clear to me, anyway, whether the OQ was interested in the specific wording, or the need for any oath at all. Has anyone heard of a jurisdiction which doesn't require key officials to swear loyalty? Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 1:12
  • @RobbieGoodwin Oaths in republics are pretty different. You do not swear to keep one ruler in place. You swear to adhere to the constitution and the laws but you are free to seek them changed. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 8:26
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    It is worth noting that the 1888 Act followed an exceptionally high-profile case about someone denied their seat in Parliament over the question of whether they could take the oath (albeit on religious grounds not purely political ones). Parliament did not see any problem in legislating to adjust its own rules at that point. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 10:18
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    Just another comment, though perhaps spuriously related, those who nationalize for UK citizenship must take an oath to the reigning monarch. So having ministers do such is not inconsistent (especially as the vast majority are native-born and thus have likely never done such before). If this rule were to change, it is plausible that the citizenship oath would change soon after, if not along with it. This would surely represent a cultural change as much as a 'political' change.
    – ouflak
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 11:48
  • @VladimirF That's wholly true and equally beside the point. Different jurisdictions have different wordings but they are all ritual, not magic; they all amount to some kind of "loyal oath" and they all promise some kind of obedience or service to the state or flag, to monarch president or whomever else suits that constitution. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 20:59

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