How are new MPs sworn in to the House of Commons and what do they have to say?

The new MPs are being sworn into the House of Commons - but what exactly happens?

Over the next few days, Scotland’s new MPs will be officially sworn in to the House of Commons.

It is largely ceremonial, but it is something every elected member must do before they can get on with the business of politics. 

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So what can we expect to see over the next few days as the new members are sworn in?

Why do MPs get sworn in?

Every new MP must take an oath of allegiance to King Charles III at the beginning of a new parliament.

If they don’t do this, they cannot sit or vote in the House of Commons.

The first task is re-electing Sir Lindsay Hoyle as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

How are they sworn in?

According to the Oaths Act 1978, members will hold a copy of the New Testament if they are Christian, or the Old Testament if they are Jewish, and raise one hand.

They will then be asked to say the words: “I swear by Almighty God that I [name] do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles III, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

However MPs are allowed to request a different holy text if they have a different religion, and there is also an option to carry out a non-religious solemn affirmation instead of an oath.

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Once they have taken the oath they sign the test roll, which is a book containing the text of the oath, and are introduced to the Speaker by the clerk of the house.

What language is the oath said in?

English - but MPs can repeat it in another language if they wish, such as Gàidhlig.

What order are oaths taken in?

Since 1997, members have been called to take the oath in order of seniority.

That means the Mother of the House Diane Abbott and Father of the House Sir Edward Leigh.

Ms Abbott has been an MP since 1987, and Sir Edward has been an MP since 1983.

Interestingly Jeremy Corbyn, who was re-elected in Islington North as an independent, has also been an MP continuously since 1983, but the title goes to Sir Edward as he was officially sworn in before Mr Corbyn was.

Following this will be members of the cabinet, the shadow cabinet, other privy counsellors, and other ministers of the crown.

After this ordinary MPs are sworn in by length of service, meaning those elected for the first time last week will be among the last to be sworn in.

How long will this take?

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It could take several days - the parliamentary schedule has listed the swearing in of new MPs on its timetable until Thursday 11 July.

What happens if you don’t swear the oath?

Those who do not take the oath cannot participate in the House of Commons, sit in the chamber or vote.

They will also not be paid a salary.

This has been the longstanding policy of Sinn Féin, which won the most seats in Northern Ireland at this election.

Sinn Féin do not recognise the king as the head of state and want a united Ireland, and therefore refuse to swear the oath.

These MPs do not receive a salary, however since 2002 they have been able to use parliamentary facilities and services, and can claim some expenses such as travel costs.



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