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This is disgraceful! If you become a Member of Parliament you swear an Oath to the Queen who is the Head of State and therefore represents the country. Yes I am aware that there are certain Members who may have sworn it with their fingers crossed behind their backs but most do it with conviction and with loyalty.

If they had had their way and there was a republic, woulf they gie the option to make an oath the the Queen? Like hell they would!

Sally Roberts is right. This is disgraceful and Bottomley should be ashamed of himself.

Wow, this is really amazing. If there's one 'at least ...' I always allow myself whatever my doubts about a Tory government it's 'at least they won't mess around with the monarchy'. I hope he gets slapped down by CCHQ.

Peter Bottomley is a lunatic. Have you ever seen the EDMs he signs? God save the Queen!

Past his sell-by-date, too. Another seat-blocker.

I agree with Lord Tebbit.

Perhaps Peter Bottomley should join the Lib-Dems instead?

I think Peter Bottomley is right. Someone should be allowed to stand for Parliament on a Republican ticket and - if elected - continue to support that viewpoint. I don't think many Republicans ever will be elected but it's stupid to expect the few that are to suddenly drop their beliefs when entering the Commons.

Nobody is prevented for standing for election as a Republican or Separatist in this country.

If they could gain a majority they could splinter the United Kingdom and appoint Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair or Neil Kinnock as State President of what is left.

Norman Baker is the champion of lost and silly causes. Peter Bottomley should have been deselected years ago so that a real politician could take a place in the House.

However, if many LibDems are in favour of abolition of the Monarchy it is because they are EU-philiacs. They would have the 5 Sinn Fein MPs on their side - good company!

Republicanism is treason. Why should traitors be allowed to sit in the House of Commons and how can treason be a valid point of view to represent?

I'm very (very) scared by how fervently he believes in monarchy, but it's very intelligent of him to argue that people should be allowed to disagree with him - a nice practical application of Voltaire. Of course the massive Republican numbers shouldn't be forced to swear allegiance to an unelected, unaccountable, non-removable relic. Monarchy has been outdated for centuries, and its continuation in any form is a national humiliation incompatible with claims of democracy.

I quite like Norman Baker though why he has associated himself with this stupid idea is beyond me.
There is nothing to prevent people standing on a republican ticket now and to pretend otherwise is completely dishonest.
Bottomley has brought the Conservative Party into disrepute and I hope will be censured by his local association.

unbelievable. de-select him - quick.

"MPs should be free to choose an oath of allegiance "

To the President of Europe peut-etre?

Off (with) his head.

How can people claim to serve the crown without an oath of allegiance to the monarch? This pure political posturing and utter nonsense.

My dad, a Scottish Nationalist and Republican always said that he would have no problem taking the oath had he been elected. The oath swears allegiance to Her Majesty and her "heirs and successors according to law". He felt there was enough allowance in the text to swear allegiance to the Head of State at the time be it the Queen or an elected President who would be successor according to law.

I have no problem with MPs not swearing loyalty providing they are required to advertise the fact that they intend not to in their election campaign beforehand.

I have enough faith that the wider public share my support for the monarchy to then prevent the occasion arising.

But for a Conservative MP to support this silly Republican campaign suggest a naivety that renders him completely unfit. If I was in his Association, I would be aranging for his deselection already

RT - my first reaction on reading your post was that it was a little over-dramatic but then I looked up the definition of "treason" and this is what dictionary.com had to say:-

1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
2. a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

So yes, number 2 above applies!

What an embarrassment from another one of our self-important bed-blockers.

The act of swearing allegiance is not necessarily an oath to an individual but to the Crown, the embodiment of the British State, the constitution and the law, just as the Americans pledge allegiance to the flag (unless you're Barack Obama)or swear to uphold the constitution. What next? Opt outs for the Armed Forces? The police? The judiciary?

Another good excuse to get rid of another embarrassing useful idiot from the backbenches.

Louise's ScotNat, republican Dad obviously had a lot more commonsense than P Bottomley & Co.

If yet another bit of disjointed, irrelevant constitutional tinkering is regarded as the most momentous issue currently facing the nation, let's hope that these MPs are put out to pasture in the next G.E.

"Monarchy has been outdated for centuries, and its continuation in any form is a national humiliation incompatible with claims of democracy."

Even though the democratic will of the majority supports the monarchy. But then of course you know better than everyone else?

I agree with Mr Bottomley - we are now in the 21st century. However unlike him and to use his phrase but in reverse, personally I am more of a citizen of this country than a subject of the Queen.

I suspect that most citizens of this country who live in the real world are, apart from very elderly pro monarchists.

That Norman Tebbitt is needless to say against it gives credence to the opinion that Mr Bottomley is right.

To Cleethorpes Rock

Could you please define 'another embarrassing useful idiot' please.

Well said [email protected]

God Save The Queen!

Bottomley is widely known as an ageing eccentric so we can give him a free pass.

If any of our younger MPs or candidates were to support this kind of poison then deselection would be the only option.

Oh, I see, MPs are about owing allegiance to those that elected them are they? There was silly me thinking that the all MPs owed their fealty to Mr.Whippy and the Party. Delegates and representatives and all that.

Please Mr. Bottomley try addressing this true malfunction of allegiance before you further compound devolution with yet another witattempt to undermine the foundations of our nation state. Or are you Guido Fawkes' No.1 fan? No the real one not the shouty blogger and his Tourettes posse.

Andrew Bradley- I mean one of the many MPs who, instead of worrying about the real roblems the country faces (Economy down the gurgler, rampant spending, Iraq disaster, shocking healthcare) choose to make themselves "useful" by popping up with publicity-seeking campaigns that serve no purpose in making the country better.


David Maclean and the Wintertons (whose only contribution to public debate recently has been to defend lavish expenses)

My local Labour MP is another, trying to ban fireworks.

Labour MP Mary Creagh wants to introduce a bill telling us how hot we are allowed to have a bath.

Michael Gove's finger-wagging at the 500,000 young, male ABC1 voters who read lads' mags.

Does that answer your question?

If you can't swear allegiance to the crown you cannot be an MP.

It is clearly the silly season, but it has flushed out the lunatic fringe. I would have thought that an MP of PB's experience would know better. Between him and Tim Yeo's ideas for changing the clocks we seem to have a number of sitting MP's past their sell by date.

This is a story about the Australian Parliament right?

And Peter Bottomley is a Conservative MP?

"One of Boris Johnson's first acts as Mayor of London was to place a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in City Hall."

Boris Johnson is a clueless twit, more concerned with generating material for his lucrative Daily Telegraph column than the governance of London. We've already had one gesture-obsessed Mayor. Get on with the job!

Now I know it's Peter Bottomley, I am relieved that it is just a well known regular eccentric. I also note that he would choose to swear a (voluntary) oath himself.

But by enabling the move to be described as "all party", he has harmed the Monarchy (and the party). It would have been much better if the news had had to say "a group of Lib Dem and Labour MPs".

Nonetheless, I would only advocate deselection, and would only personally be unable to vote for a Conservative candidate, if they would not want to swear (or affirm) the oath themselves. Loyalty to the Monarchy is surely a very minimum that we can expect from a Tory. A republican Tory MP is to me an oxymoron (have I spelt that right?)

People in this country at all levels should be required to pledge allegiance to the Crown and the Union Flag, I don't think there is any need to mention the monarch who is an embodiment of the Crown, but no one should be able to expect just to be allowed to take up appointments without swearing an oath of allegiance, which I think should also apply for school children and anyone applying for public sector jobs or claiming benefits.

Addition to my previous sending. Peter Bottomley should be taken out quietly and shot.

Slightly off track but...

In my recent attempt to join the TA (ftr failed the medical) I had to consider the fact that I would have to swear allegiance to the queen. I am a republican but decided that the end justified the means.

Swearing an oath to a monarch - to exult being subject to a single indiviudal - seems to me a complete anathema to the freedoms I would offer to defend, and the democracy that we propound both here and abroad.

Had I been given the opportunity, I would gladly and proudly have sworn an oath to my country and to its people. It would have been with an insincere heart that I would have sworn allegiance to a monarch.

HOWEVER in spite of my ideals, at the moment there are so many threats to our culture and way of life that I would cling on to any of our heritage with all that I have - including the monarchy and the Church of England (am also an atheist). As long as there are violations of our sovereignity by foreign powers, and threats to our safety by factions at home and abroad, I think one such as me must just swallow it and fry the bigger fish.

(But I'm still not toasting the queen.)

God preserve us from flippant twits! - elderly flippant twits.

This country is a monarchy, which appears to have worked since Cromwell, in terms of stability. If you really want a president - Brown or Mugabwe - go somewhere else!

I seem to remember Roseanna Cunningham standing for Westminster on an unashamedly republican ticket and thrashing the Torys into third place.

This man is a disgrace. It's bad enough this coming from other parties, but from the Conservatives!?!

Someone needs to have a word with him. What a joke.

Edward Huxley is right.

He should be given the opportunity to apologise, and if he doesn't, the whip should be taken (and he should take the whip in a physical sense).

I do not believe there is any real harm in someone such as Peter Bottomley causing us to think about our Constitution and all that it implies. Because it is largely unwritten, very many of us know insufficient about it and thus are not always aware of what its provisions include. I am not sure, however, that a written constitution is necessarily a good alternative. Life shows that the moment written rules come into play, an inordinate amount of time is then spent trying to circumvent them. So like most things in life, our present arrangements are fluid and open to interpretation. All that said, it seems that a constitutional monarchy still has a great deal to offer the country and swearing an oath of allegiance to the monarch, its representative, acknowledges the role of our Head of State. Thinking about some of the alternatives makes one`s blood run cold. After all, we have tried it and I thought that a dose of Cromwell cured us of the idea. Swearing an oath of allegiance perhaps reminds MPs, when elected, to keep in mind that they are not quite such important individuals, or above the law, as some of the more self-centred of them seem to think.

Given the true state of affairs with our constitutional structure of most of the legislation coming from the EU with Parliament (even if they know) having no right to reject it and the ECJ being a higher court than the House of Lords, Peter Bottomley is stating nothing but the truth. They should be swearing allegiance to the European Union, since that is where the MPs' allegiance belongs. The House of Lords is a little more complicated.

Remember the names of all of the M.P.s who wish not to swear the oath of allegiance to our Queen and vote them all out. This Country has worked well for 500 years-we don't want upstarts trying to change it. We went into the E.U. through lies by M.P.'s telling us it was for trading purposes on & nothing more-Blair promised a referendum in 2005 on the E.U. another lie--Weapons of mass destruction another lie-
The majority of the public is for the Royal Family--If these Country wreckers want to swear allegiance to the public--remember the public want the Royal Family--if it isn't broke don't try to fix it. Out with the anti Royal M.P.'s as soon as possible. I am amazed that Bottomley thinks that way.

Peter Bottomley should be banned.

How is it that Howard Flight got thrown out, and Patrick Mercer was thrown as far as Mr Cameron dared to throw him, for saying what commonsense Conservatives believe to be true, while Mr Bottomley is clearly getting away with deliberate disloyalty both to the Crown and to the Conservative party ?

I write this somewhat tongue-in-cheek as I find it incredulous that they have spent the time worrying over a few words that take a few seconds to speak - What? Once a year, once every five years when at the same time the economy is on the slide and our society and democracy are broken.

Have you heard anything so ridiculous (except from this Government of course)? It only goes to show how trivial and irrelevant some of our MP's have become.

So this is what Clegg meant by going after Labour votes is it? Making pointless disrespectful (not only to the head of state but also to the nation) gesture politics against the head of state that don't stand a cat's chance in hell of ever being adopted.

As for Peter Bottomley (there's nearly always one), shame on him for falling for this transparent kindergarten anti-british stunt and making himself the token Conservative twit. What sort of fool is he?

It's all utter fluff and nonsense. My suggestion to them, is if they object so vehemently to saying the oath to our head of state, then fine, they should stop being MP's!

After all wasting breath on such idiocy means that they are not doing what they are paid to do and wasting the electorate's money and that doesn't say much for their credentials to be an MP!

As for punishment for Bottomley's stupidity, withdrawing the whip is overkill. Make him and the rest of the 'plotters' stand in the corner of the House for the first two weeks of the next Parliamentary term wearing a pointy hat with a big D on it and make them promise not to do it again!

Of course, it could be more sinister. This could be the start of some insidious plot by the Libdems/ Labour that eventually results in MP's swearing allegiance to Brussels?

No wonder so many people have switched off politics......

I am waiting for Justin Hinchcliffe to say that he agrees with Lord Tebbit.

I will cut out his post and frame it when he does.

I first encountered Peter Bottomly nearly 25 years ago, when he spoke at a meeting of London Conservative Students. It was the first time that I had ever attended a function with a Conservative MP.

The chairman of the meeting, a TRG activist, introduced Peter Bottomly with great fanfare, explaining that the reason why he had been invited was because he (PB) had voted against the Thatcher government more times than any other Conservative MP in the previous session of Parliament.

That meeting gave me an impression of Peter Bottomly, and the TRG, that I have never been given any grounds to revise since.

Mr Bottomly's pronouncement today tells me nothing about him that I did not already know. He does not belong in the Conservative Party now, and he did not belong in it then either.

More chipping at the foundation of the state as a constitutional monarchy. It is an example of a useful idiot doing the work of others with far less liberal aims.
The "elephant in the room" remains the EU though. Read a guest blog by an 18 year old over at Mrs Dales's Diary and one might be cheered that it's not all over yet.

The whole issue smacks of republicism.
Bottomley needs his bottom smacked by nanny.

The queen, - whose parliament our parliament is, - is the only link our democracy has against any despotic mafia from ruling over us, which, although it might have had its origins through being democratically elected could change and reveal itself as something far more unsavoury than that which it was first sold to us.
We need the queen more than ever today. Though constantly played down in the media, - it is the primary function of the Monarchy to protect us all from the politics of deceit.
Unknowingly, those who would increasingly popularly ask us to divest ourselves of the Monarchy should ask themselves; 'who or what is driving this very dangerous sentiment'? For the answer is - only those who would want to destroy our country and subject it to an anti-democratic tyranny never before experienced by the people of these islands.

A republican is not in principle excluded by the presence of a requirement to swear/affirm allegiance to the Queen. This is not merely true, as already observed above, because the republican in question could just not take up her seat, but it is also true because being a republican (i.e. believing that there *should* be a republic) is not incompatible with functioning in a constitutional monarchy (including swearing/affirming allegiance to the Queen).

This is a version of the same error that says that just because some left-wingers believe that private education should be banned, it is therefore wrong for them to send their own children to private school. It is an error of thought to neglect the distinction between one's belief about the way the world ought to be and one's acting properly within the world as it is.

The English MPs should be asked to sign a pledge of allegiance to England ,as the Scottish MPs did for Scotland headed by our PM Gordon Brown.

"I am waiting for Justin Hinchcliffe to say that he agrees with Lord Tebbit.

I will cut out his post and frame it when he does" - Chris Williams @ 13:21

On this occasion, yes, I agree with him. Would you like a signed photograph to go with it?

Very sensible Andrew Lilico.

The wierd thing is that Peter B is prepared to swear it himself, but doesn't want to force others to.

There is also the obvious point that allegiance to the Monarch implies and includes allegiance to her laws etc ("the Queen in Parliament"). Allegiance to "the people" of "the nation" can mean whatever you want it to mean. For instance, could a Scot Nat sincerely swear allegiance if this "people" and "nation" were not, in their view, their own? Whereas they can quite properly swear allegiance to the Monarch because she is Queen of Scotland as well, by independent right from her position as Queen of England (give or take a few Jacobite reservations).

Enough of the moronic bitching over one Parliamentarian's views. He has earned the right, as a servant of his constituents, to express his opinion. It isn't treason to propose a change, particularly where the proposal would be required to pass through the House before enactment. People forgetting the Cromwell and Orange legacies?

I expect anyone who takes an oath to stand by it, that is what an oath is. If you are not prepared to do that, you should not accept the job. To break that oath, as it would seem many politicians have, is treason when applied, as here, to an oath of allegiance to the Crown. Bottomley should be expelled from the "conservative" party, if he ever, in any meaningful way, belonged. This idea is patently of EU dimensions. If the "Lisbon" Treaty is ratified, the Council of ministers will become an EU institution and since it consists of the heads of governments, our PM for one will have to break his Oath of Allegiance to the Crown because he will have to pursue the EU's aims.

The unreasonableness or unfairness rests with the fact that although the government of our queen gives us the freedom to accept and co-exist with those with different/opposing views, the republican government if it led to becoming a dictatorship would drive out those of differing views in a way a present day Monarchy would not.
Therefore the Monarchy upholding the more tolerant/freer British constitution shows up the deficiencies of the republican model. I would therefore prefer to swear allegiance to our queen

The EU indeed flies in the face of the unwritten British constitution with the queen at its' head.
As such our Prime Minister is committing treason by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty which he has no right to do.
No wonder we sense there is something wrong with it without knowing WHY !!

"This Country has worked well for 500 years-we don't want upstarts trying to change it."

This 'country' (political union state) has only existed in its current form since the 1920s. By 'county' I think you must mean England. In fact I don't actually know what you mean. Your rant sounds a bit like Major's hilarious '1000 years of Brittish history' gaff.

It's times like this we could do with Sharia law. A stoning would be too good for him.

Totally agree with Sally Roberts first post on the thread.

Bottomley is a traitor, so should be hung. There is room for a gallows in Westminster Hall and the TV rights should make a useful return instead of money beiing wasted on Olympics. It would make a wonderful spectacle with Black Rod and Sergeants at Arms escorting Bottomley up the steps, with Yeoman Warders using thier shiny pikes to stop him wobbling and snivelling. Her Majesty could pull the Lever of Power, to the tune of Candle in the Wind! A truly modern display of Monarchy.

BTW tell Sarko he's next.

I would allow Her Majesty or her Consort to pull the lever (of Power)

Wouldn’t be better if our legislators, on taking up their positions, swore to uphold the constitution?

For this we need a written constitution which would enshrine the role of the monarchy

Sovereignty in this country is vested constitutionally in 'the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, and the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled'. The requirement on MPs to swear the Oath of Allegiance is a requirement that they think about the implications of that and assent to be a part of it, rather than just pursuing their own fancies and whims. That it is archaic is a good thing. It reminds MPs that they are the temporary custodians and tenants of an ancient state not its permanent freeholders to do with it as they like.

More MPs need to remember this, including those in leadership positions. I am sorry to find that some in the Conservative Party are among those who need to learn

Andrew Lilico
“...A republican is not in principle excluded by the presence of a requirement to swear/affirm allegiance to the Queen...”

True. See Louise’s post @09.19. A republican can swear according to the constitutional situation now, knowing that it does not preclude a desired future constitutional situation. The “heir & successor” could be a president. The republican accepts the reality of the ‘bleak’ present, whilst striving in hope of a ‘brighter’ future.

“…just because some left-wingers believe that private education should be banned, it is therefore wrong for them to send their own children to private school..”.

It is naked hypocrisy. The leftwinger takes advantage of the bright, present reality, whilst striving in hope of a bleaker future for the children of others.

Not the same thing at all!
It would only be the same if the republican was similarly benefiting from the existence of the monarchy in some way that would not be possible in the republic that he/she desired.

I hope David Cameron gets this man deselected he is not worthy of being a Conservative MP -
Loyalty to their sovereign should be the first thing any Conservative believes in -if he doesnt see that then he should do the decent thing and resign.
He is a disgrace and an embarresment

Ken - the Republican is benefiting from the political stability and sense of national identity that is assisted so very much by the Monarchy. If he is a politician he may also be benefiting from such things as the honour of being a Pricy Councillor - meaningless if there is no monarch.

Nor is private education, from a socialist's viewpoint, as you describe. He would regard it as the bleak present reality that private education is superior for his child whilst hoping for the bright future when, without the "creaming off" of the private sector, the State sector is much improved. This may be a laughable analysis to you and me but is, I believe, what most socialists think.

I take the opposite tack on private education. I think that any family with a large income, particularly if they are socialist, should not use up scarce State resources by claiming a free education for their children. They should assist the State sector either by going private or, if they are really idealistic, by donating the cost of the education received to the relevant education authority or State school. If the latter, that would prove to us that they really care about education, rather than just rather fancy a nice house in Tuscany, or a better wine cellar, instead of paying school fees. They might also realise that, once you take school fees into account, "taxation" of better off families is not as modest as they assert.

Sorry editor, to have remained off topic!

"the Republican is benefiting from the political stability and sense of national identity that is assisted so very much by the Monarchy"

Such as is lacking in, say, the USA or Rep of Ireland but displayed in abundance by the separatist movements of the UK?

Preference for monarchy is an act of faith rather than of logic, without the quantifiable benefits of the education comparison.
I'm a monarchist, btw.

"Pricy Councillor"
Freudian slip ? ;-)

I would guess that a Privy Councillor, pricey or otherwise, might be called a presidential adviser elsewhere.

The Monarch represents the collective people of Great Britain, and whoever refuses to swear an oath of allegiance to HM The Queeen is a traitor not only to Her,but also to the country. In a less politically correct world, such people would have been hung, drawn and quartered, particularly if they were conservative MPs..

Just another thought - I presume Mr. Bottomley is NOT titled? If he isn't, I suspect that he would NOT refuse a title; oh, of course he would say that is entirely different, except it isn't, because Mr. Bottomley I would think it quite exceptable, that if we had to have a Parliament filled with people like you who didn't feel they should acknowledge the Queen, then perhaps the Queen would decide to take a more personal interest in who was 'honoured' and dish out 'titles' slightly more abstemiously, i.e. NOT to self-important mere MP's!!

Your rant sounds a bit like Major's hilarious '1000 years of Brittish history' gaff.
It was Norman Tebbit who said that Britain had had pretty good government for the past 1000 years, I don't recall John Major saying anything similar.

There has been more than enough constitutional vandalism in the past 10 years and yet I never knew it would go as far as questioning the Oath of Allegiance to the Sovereign.

I have a high regard for Peter Bottomley and agree with much of what he says, but believe on this occasion he has made a gross error of judgement.

That Oath of Allegiance has been a part of our system for a quite a few centuries now. It could be deemed a unifying factor across political divides. To make it optional would cast our Sovereign in a partisan light and divide MPs between those who are loyal and those who are not and thus render the UK an international laughing stock.

If the UK were ever a Republic am sure we would be expected to buckle down and show it respect. - No Oaths being optional. By the same token so long as the UK is a constituional monarchy the oaths of allegiance and other rituals should quite reasonably reflect that status.

Futhermore it is an insult on the Armed Forces and those who have died in the name of their Sovereign to start questioning the Oath.

There is enormous respect amongst those overseas for HM Queen. Let us British start showing more respect and apprecation for the Crown.

I can recall when Peter Bottomley was a PPS/junior Minister in the Northen Irish Office. He had the reputation of being too friendly with SF. Presumably he sees this as allowing his friends Gerry Adams et al to take their sets.

Personally I always found Horatio Bottomley more acceptable.

It certainly is silly season for this suggestion to have caused so much outrage.

Every person who has condemned Peter Bottomley’s comments should think of something they fundamentally believe in and then swear an oath contradicting that belief – for that is what you’re all requiring a republican to do.

As for Tebbit's argument, is the standard of debate really so low that we accept a tradition is right simply because it's longstanding? Flat Earth comes to mind. IMO, you’ve got to come up with something better than that if you’re going to put a subject off-limits to Parliament.

Contrary to Tebbit's comments it's an OPEN attempt to republicanise our constitution which is fairly republican already. This is a thoroughly welcome move and great to see a high profile Tory supporting it.

Peter Bottomley deserves enormous credit for taking a principled position that recognises the right of democratically elected republicans to sit in parliament, without demeaning the oath by having to make it obvious that it is said sincerely.

Good. It's time for a real democracy, where the electorate have the power. When the oath is changed (and it will be) to exclude any mention of a monarch it should also be a secular oath, with no mention of shiny white men with beards who live on clouds.

what utter poppycock that republicans are traitors. typical backward tory thinking. real patriots are the ones that recognise that there's a problem and that problem is the ultimately monarchy is divisive to democracy, not those who accept something because it's "traditional". That's treason in my book because stagnation and subverting democracy are treacherous, not republicanism.

Yet another anon I beleive he said-"A thousand days of Labour government could ditch a thousand years of British history" John Major, Feb '97

Except John didn't seem to appreciate in trying to defend direct London rule that Scotland had been independent for over 500 years of his so called 'British' history.

Paradigmatic disjunct or cognitive dissonance here: a failure to grasp the difference between the descriptive and the normative. As has been said before, a republican in the UK can lawfully and loyally swear the oath and believe that normatively the country SHOULD become a republic in the future, including advocating and acting (within the law) to further such. Or a republican can refuse to swear the oath, which is to effectively say, descriptively, that the country now IS a republic, which is either insane or, indeed, treasonous.

"...if you’re going to put a subject off-limits to Parliament."

The monarchy is not a separate subject off-limits to Parliament. The Crown is one of the three COMPONENTS of Parliament.

Well done Peter Bottomley. The conservative party should seek to conserve only that which is good and helpful in our nation and in our constitution - and the monarchy is neither.

Even in the Australian parliament, where sadly most MPs are republicans these days, they are required, by the Constitution, to take the oath of alliegence to the Queen. Any change would require a national referendum!

As all authority in this country is exercised in the name of the crown the presnet oath is, in effect, an oath to the nation.

An oath from my local MP, Emily Thornberry, to bear true alligence to the people of Islington would be as laughable as it is cringe-making.

Besides, I'm with Edmund Burke on this one: I choose a deputy to parliament to exercise his/her conscience for the good of the country, not to pander to whatever local, vocal minority catches their eye.

"Republicanism is treason. Why should traitors be allowed to sit in the House of Commons and how can treason be a valid point of view to represent?"

The Tories have quite rightly attacked the present government on its civil liberties record, but freedom of speech is treasonous if it doesn't fit with your world view? Is this what we can expect from our next government?

"We need the queen more than ever today. Though constantly played down in the media, - it is the primary function of the Monarchy to protect us all from the politics of deceit. "

How exactly? She doesn't seem to be doing much of a job in that direction and I don't see how she could, she is just an irrelavent and meaningless figurehead. She might once have been a focus for English patriotism (back when the English thought British and English were interchangeable terms) but this is no longer the case. The loss of English identity and social values is more about democracy and government than it is about monarchy, otherwise the other nationalities would be in the same boat as the English, and they're not.

So losing the monarchy (or in the short term the oath to same) is not a threat to our identity, and would allow the embryonic strong new English identity, which is based on a need for greater democracy, to flourish.

On RT's comment:-
'Republicanism is treason. Why should traitors be allowed to sit in the House of Commons and how can treason be a valid point of view to represent?'

But then any liberals rebelling against the Nazis during that era in Germany were also traitors. Is RT therefore implying that no matter how bad the state, any view contrary to said state should be shunned?

We allow atheists to alter the wording of the oath, and republicans want the prestigious role of head-of-state to go to an elected, accountable citizen, almost always in accordance with their beliefs in liberty and democracy (good Conservative principles, if I'm not mistaken!), so why can they not just alter the oath to something so inncoent as the citizenry? Good on Bottomly, talking sense and standing up for principle.

"I'd much prefer a bad monarchy to a good president."

Peter Bottomley is either an idiot or this is a typo.

This whole debate has nothing to do with state republicanism. It is about the liberty to swear an alleigance to whatever one chooses to serve, be that a god, monarch, faith, or whatever else.

At last. A Conservative politician speaking on behalf of democracy. I really wish he was my Member of Parliament, as I admire his courage in stating the obvious; It's time Britain had a democratically elected Head of State.

"It is about the liberty to swear an alleigance to whatever one chooses to serve, be that a god, monarch, faith, or whatever else."

Liberty to be loyal to "whatever you want" is meaningless. Would you support that for the military as well? For judges?

I admit it may seem peculiar for me as an American to be making this argument, but I believe it's entirely consistent with the fact that the American Founders DID regard what they were doing as treason: a treason that they regarded as justified, but treason nonetheless. ("If this be treason, let us make the most of it." -- Patrick Henry) They did not try to have it both ways like this.

I strongly support the monarchy and the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen - but Peter Bottomley is entitled to his opinion.

the monarchy is an outdated useless institution. Scrapping the oath is a good idea. MPs are elected by thepublic to represent their interests, not the interests of a relic.

Ray Khan, you completely missed my point, didn't you? It's legitimate to argue FOR a republic: it's insane to argue the UK already IS a republic, and that's what scrapping or modifying the oath would mean.

Shame on Peter Bottomley! Is he a Conservative?

When Ulster Tory glanced at a similar headline several days ago (or possibly yesterday - the days are merging) in a newsagents, he immediately thought... Sinn Fein finally want to give their constituents represention to accompany their taxation.

However, it transpired that some people want to continue down the road to the Republic of Britain. What is the motivation? The financial argument doesn't get me. If anything the Head of State will use more public money than the Queen. This is a clear ideological attack on our traditions.

It is apparent that a move to get rid of the Monarchy would be semi-popular. We shall have to use our main weapon against the left to show such a move as idiocy.

Our main weapon is fact. For every criticism of the Monarchy, a Presidential-esque figure would just be worse.

Ulster Tory
"We shall have to use our main weapon against the left to show such a move as idiocy."

Why not try my thermonuclear weapon:
shut eyes very tight and visualise Cherie Blair as First Lady.
I find that it instantly dispels republican notions!

This could actually be treason. No more, no less. The oath is fundamental central pillar to our history and order of things. This should warrant the death penalty.
As someone who was brought up in Northern Ireland, I know my loyalties are to Queen and country.

Come on - this is the opinion of a group of just 22 MPs led by someone like Norman Baker gives some indication. I don't think I'll be needing my cavalier outfit just yet...

Come on - this is the opinion of a group of just 22 MPs led by someone like Norman Baker. I don't think I'll be needing my cavalier outfit just yet...

Watching the extravaganza in China, I mused that, whereas Princess Anne was there specifically as a British member of the IOC, the Queen, had she been present, would have had to stand up for every one of her Realms and Territories that had sent a team. And that would have been an awful lot of standing up. In London in 2012, we shall doubtless see her do just that, even at 86. The Queen is a real old pro.

Which brings me to this.

An Oath of Allegiance to the monarch is in fact to the supremacy of Parliament, which determines the succession to the Throne, and within which the final say has passed to the House of Commons, which has itself come to be elected by universal suffrage. It is, in other words, precisely what Dr Baker and his supporters claim to want – an Oath of Allegiance to their constituents and to the nation as a whole.

Furthermore, it is effectively an Oath of Allegiance to the family containing all those countries for whose teams the Queen would have had to stand up (and will do so), plus several more besides: in those that are sovereign states (the Commonwealth Realms), our Parliament and the inheritors of its tradition consciously choose to determine that the same person shall always accede to all their respective Thrones; while the others (variously dependent on or associated with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand or the Crown itself) freely choose to maintain their current status.

And it is an Oath of Allegiance to the Christian roots of all three of this country’s principal political traditions, since, while the succession to the Throne can be altered by Parliament (and thus effectively by the elected House of Commons), nevertheless the ordinary operation of the monarchical system gives a direct constitutional role to God Who is active in His world, and that system is otherwise indefensible. Thus is embodied both a check on any excessively high view of the capabilities of Originally Sinful human nature, and a check on any excessively low view of the capabilities of human nature redeemed in Christ, the God-Man.

It is no wonder that everywhere still having the Queen as Head of State has a Christian majority, and that the Great Council of Chiefs of Fiji (drawn from that country’s Melanesian, Christian population) continues to recognise Her Majesty as Paramount Chief long after Fiji (with its Indian, overwhelmingly non-Christian majority) bloodily removed Her Majesty as Head of State.

There must, of course, be one Oath of Allegiance, taken by all parliamentarians, who are and must be all there on the same basis. Parliamentary sovereignty, the Commonwealth, and the Christian roots of all three political traditions are that basis, superbly expressed by, in, through and as the current Oath of Allegiance.

Peter botomley was so right with this. We shouldn't have to swear allegance to the Queen. I believe in a Republic, and why shouldn't we be allowed to say so? Although Peter Botomley was spot on, and I'd love him to join the Lib Dems, we Lib Dems already have a fabulous charismatic leader in Nick Clegg, with Norman Baker my second choice.

Gloy Plopwell IS allowed to say he/she believes in a republic, and he/she has just done so (01.21). I am very interested to hear that Gloy thinks the Lib Dems are Republicans too as a party. I have heard the last 6 Lib Dem Mayors of my Borough (the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames) swear or affirm to be faithful and bear true allegiance etc. upon taking office without anyone holding a gun to their heads. Am I to take it they didn't mean it?

Paul, of course if you show me a sincere LibDem then I'll show you a bear with exemplary indoor bathroom habits. I actually prefer the honestly of finger-crossing or refusal because then you know the character of the person you are dealing with.

This slippery slope is worrying. Okay so it may be reductio ad absurdum but what if I was elected and insisted that I owed my fealty to my toothbrush? Or that I was a Jedi?

There can only be one Oath and it must conform to the current constitutional arrangement whatever that may be - now or in the future. We can't cherry-pick the bits of the established constitution which you like and ignore the other ones as you please.

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