Oath on demise of Crown
8.25In the event of the demise of the Crown, Parliament meets immediately, pursuant to the Succession to the Crown Act 1707 (see para 8.12 ), and all Members of both Houses may again take the oath.1 There is no statutory obligation to take the oath in these circumstances, although it has been the custom of Parliament and continues to be obligatory in the House of Lords.
On the death of Edward VII the House of Commons met on Saturday 7 May 1910 but, owing to the unavoidable absence of the Speaker, the Chairman of Ways and Means and the Deputy Chairman, adjourned to the following Monday, the Clerk of the House fulfilling the role which, in the now superseded procedure, he played in the election of a Speaker.2 The Chairman of Ways and Means, acting as Deputy Speaker, and other Members then took the oath. The Speaker took the oath at the first sitting of the House at which he was present.3
- 1. LJ (1837) 420, etc; CJ (1837) 490, etc; LJ (1936–37) 59, etc; CJ (1936–37) 59, etc; LJ (1951–52) 77, etc; CJ (1951–52) 88. The proposition that the obligation to take the oath in these circumstances rests merely upon the custom of Parliament has been stated with authority in the House of Commons, HC Deb (1936–37) 319, c 762.
- 2. For which see Erskine May (18th edn, 1971), pp 259–60.
- 3. CJ (1910) 147, 150, 154.