With the Labour Party emerging victorious in the UK election on July 4, 650 members of parliament took oath in the House of Commons swearing allegiance to the Crown and God. The MPs, who were sworn in on July 10, read out from either a religious oath or a non-religious affirmation printed on a placard.

However, not everyone stuck to the script.

Colum Eastwood, leader of Social Democratic and Labour party, said that he was pledging his allegiance “under protest” as his true allegiance lies with the people of Ireland.

His fellow party member to be elected to the House of Commons, Claire Hanna, also protested, beginning her oath in Irish and concluding with the words “....in friendship and in hope of a reconciled new Ireland, my allegiance is to the people of Belfast South and Mid Down and I say these words in order to serve them”.

Members of the House of Commons can be sworn in using a religious text or a non-religious affirmation. They are also allowed to take the oath or affirmation in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic or Cornish after first making it in English.

Jeremy Corbyn, ousted former leader of the Labour Party who won as an independent candidate from Islington North in London, before taking oath, said to another MP while waiting in queue, “This is such load of nonsense isn’t it?”


Quite unlike in the Indian parliament, these gestures of protest did not elicit any significant reactions from their fellow parliamentarians in the House.

On June 24 and 25, when new members of Lok Sabha were sworn in, the Indian Parliament saw some MPs adding their own affirmations to the standard oath. These protests were condemned or met with counter-sloganeering from ruling party members.

For instance, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Bareilly, Chhatra Pal Singh Gangwar, ended his oath by shouting “Jai Hindu Rashtra.”

Asaduddin Owaisi, Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad and Leader of AIMIM, hailed Palestine during his oath. That part of the video was later expunged from the Sansad TV, the government broadcaster of Parliament proceedings.


Chandra Shekhar Azad “Ravan”, founder of the Azad Samaj Party hailed BR Ambedkar, the Indian Constitution, BP Mandal, Indian democracy and the people of India.

Pappu Yadav of the Congress, representing Purnia, Bihar in Lok Sabha wore a t-shirt labeled “#ReNEET” to the parliament to protest against for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test that was cancelled following allegations of paper leak. Yadav also demanded special status for Bihar.

When the pro-tem speaker asked members to restrict themselves to the oath, members of the ruling coalition at times retorted with “Jai Shree Ram.”

As Congress member Shashi Tharoor hailed the Indian Constitution during his swearing in, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said “the oath is itself over the Constitution”.

Soon after, Birla constituted a panel to frame rules for oath-taking and affirmation that prohibited MPs from adding any remarks of their own.

“Oath or affirmation is a constitutional process and there is no scope of politicising it,” said Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju.