SNP MP Steven Bonnar CROSSES his fingers as he pledges allegiance to the Queen while being sworn into the House of Commons
- Every MP returned at the general election has to take an oath to be sworn in
- MPs must pledge allegiance to the Crown but can choose an oath or affirmation
- Can be problem for MPs who are opposed to the monarchy for political reasons
- Steven Bonnar, SNP MP, today appeared to cross his fingers while pledging
An SNP MP risked fury today as he crossed his fingers while pledging his allegiance to the Queen as he was sworn into the House of Commons.
Steven Bonnar, the newly elected MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, crossed his index finger and his middle finger as he made a ‘solemn affirmation’ to the monarch.
Every MP is required by law to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown in a swearing in process before they are allowed to start work.
Those who object to swearing an oath – which includes a reference to God – are allowed to make an affirmation instead.
However, the process can be problematic for MPs who are opposed to the monarchy for political reasons.
SNP MP Steven Bonnar risked anger today as he appeared to cross his fingers while he affirmed allegiance to the Queen
Mr Bonnar appeared to cross his fingers when he was being sworn in this afternoon. All MPs are required by law to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Crown
MPs start the swearing in process by stating their name and constituency at which point Mr Bonnar said he wanted to affirm rather than take the oath.
He then appeared to be confused about the process as he asked the clerk for a Bible at which point it was explained to him that the book was not needed for affirmations.
He was then asked to read the words of the affirmation.
He raised his right hand and appeared to cross his fingers as he said: ‘I do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.’
He then added: ‘I take this oath to ensure that I can represent the people of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill in Scotland.’
Mr Bonnar tweeted after the process was completed to say ‘that’s us all official now’ along with a photograph of him making the affirmation. But the image had his right hand cropped out.
Meanwhile, the SNP’s Gavin Newlands said he was affirming in order to ‘serve my constituents’ while party colleague Mhairi Black said her allegiance was ‘first and foremost’ to her constituents and she was making the pledge ‘for the purpose of the job’.
It is not the first time MPs have appeared to protest against the monarchy while being sworn in.
The late Tony Banks, a Labour MP, crossed his fingers in 1997 while a number of of others have previously made clear that they only said the words because they were required to do so.
Tony Banks, a Labour MP, crossed his fingers when he was sworn into the House of Commons in 1997
It came as an SDLP MP made a ‘respectful protest’ to the Commons Speaker about the requirement to pledge allegiance to the Queen.
Claire Hanna wrote to Sir Lindsay Hoyle to raise concerns about the pledge with the MP for Belfast South stating in the Commons that ‘my allegiance is to the people of South Belfast in order to serve them’.
In a letter to Sir Lindsay, the MP said: ‘I submit this letter to you to register a respectful protest against the requirement that I make a statement of allegiance to the Crown as a precondition for taking my seat.
‘I chose an affirmation rather than an oath, but the words do not reflect my outlook.’