What happens at MPs' swearing in and what is the oath of allegiance?

Following Labour's landslide last week, a new cohort of 643 MPs will take their place in the House of Commons.

ONE EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVING. NO ALTERING OR MANIPULATING. NO USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNLESS AGREED BY HOC PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE. MANDATORY CREDIT: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of newly elected MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Richard Foord, swearing the oath of allegiance to the Queen, in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2022.
Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord is sworn in after a by-election victory in 2022. (PA)

Parliament returns on Tuesday for the first time since last week's general election.

Following Labour's landslide last week, a new cohort of 643 MPs – a total of 650 minus the seven Sinn Finn MPs who don't take their seats – will take their place in the House of Commons.

The first order of business will be for MPs to elect a commons speaker, with Sir Lindsay Hoyle expected to be re-elected to the post he has held since November 2019.

After that, MPs will begin the process of taking an oath of allegiance to the Crown, known as swearing in.

Yahoo News UK examines what will happen and how the process works.

Before they take their seats in parliament, MPs must take an oath of allegiance to the crown, a process called swearing in.

This must be done after a general election, or a by-election (it is optional after the death of a monarch), and MPs can either swear in using a religious text or they can make a non-religious solemn affirmation.

Once the Commons speaker has taken the oath, MPs line up one by one at the despatch box in order of seniority, with the father of the House (the member with the longest continuous service) first, followed by cabinet ministers, the shadow cabinet and so on.

Both members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords are required by law to take an oath of allegiance.

MPs are not allowed to take their seat in the Commons chamber, speak in debates, vote or receive a salary until the make the oath or affirmation.

MPs can make the oath of allegiance and hold a sacred text in their uplifted hand and say:

"I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God."

ONE EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVING. NO ALTERING OR MANIPULATING. NO USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNLESS AGREED BY HOC PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE. MANDATORY CREDIT: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Conservative Anna Firth is sworn in as the MP for Southend West at the House of Commons chamber, London. Issue date: Monday February 7, 2022.
Conservative Anna Firth is sworn in as an MP in 2022. (PA)

There are a variety of texts on hand for them to use, including the New Testament or bible for Christians, the Tanakh for Jews, the Quran for Muslims and the Guru Granth Sahib for Sikhs.

Those books which may not be handled by non-believers are kept in slip-cases.

In 2015, Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng asked for the Book of Mormon as a joke, only for his party colleague Craig Whittaker, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to request one to reflect his faith.

However, instead of making the oath using a sacred text, MPs can choose to make a solemn affirmation instead, using the words:

"I do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law."

The clerk at the despatch box provides MPs with an oath or affirmation card to read from.

Initially, the oath or affirmation must be made in English, but MPs can choose to follow this up with one in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic or Cornish.

Welsh

Yr wyf yn addo, trwy gymorth y Goruchaf, y byddaf yn ffyddlon ac yn wir deyrngar i'w Fawrhydi, y Brenin Charles, Ei Etifeddion a'i Olynwyr, yn ôl y Ddeddf, yn wyneb Duw.

Scottish Gaelic

Tha mi a' mionnachadh air Dia uilechumhachdach gum bi mi dìleas agus daingeann d'a Mhòrachd, An Rìgh Teàrlach, a Oighrean agus ladsan a thig na Àite, a rèir an Lagha. Dia gam chuideachadh.

Cornish

My a de re Dhuw ollgallosek dell vedhav len ha perthi Omrians gwir dhe Y Vraster an Myghtern Charles, Y Heryon ha Sewyoryon, herwydh an Lagha. Duw re'm gweresso.

If MPs attempt to avoid taking the oath or affirmation, they can be fined £500 and have their seat declared vacant "as if they were dead".

In 1880, Charles Bradlaugh, founder of the National Secular Society, was elected to the House of Commons and refused to take the oath because he was an atheist. He was not allowed to affirm and was denied his seat, but he won a subsequent by-election, and again refused to take the oath and was again ejected, before being arrested and imprisoned for a short period in the Tower of London.

Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891). English political activist. London. House of Commons. Arrest of deputy atheist Brandlaugh for refusing to leave the Chamber. Engraving in The Spanish and American Illustration, 1885.
Charles Bradlaugh was arrested for refusing to leave the Commons after he declined to take the oath of allegiance in the 1880s. (Alamy)

He was eventually allowed to take an oath in 1886, and two years later a bill he proposed became law that allowed MPs to affirm.

In more recent years, some MPs make clear they do not support the monarchy while swearing in.

In 2019, SNP MP Steven Bonnar crossed his fingers while taking the oath, something Labour MP Tony Banks did in 1997.

Maverick British MP Tony Banks seen here in this television image taken Tuesday May 13, 1997, crosses his fingers during swearing in ceremonies of the new government in the House of Commons at Westminster. The boisterous Banks later denied he was mocking the crown, and his behaviour has drawn outrage from Conservative politicians who say the oath of allegiance should be taken very seriously by any MP. Mr. Banks gained a reputation as a joker who poked fun at Commons tradition. He is now the new SportsMinister.(AP Photo)
In 1997, Labour MP Tony Banks crossed his fingers during swearing in. (AP Photo)

In 2019, Calum Eastwood, the leader of the SDLP party in Northern Ireland, said: "Under protest and in order to represent my constituency I do solemnly swear, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors according to law."

His party colleague, Claire Hanna, also made her affirmation under protest, adding: "My allegiance is to the people of South Belfast in order to serve them."

The Sinn Fein party, which won seven seats in Northern Ireland, have a long-standing policy of abstentionism so do not take their seats in Westminster.

In 2019, both Labour's Stella Creasy and the Conservatives' Kemi Badenoch were sworn in while carrying their newborn babies.

After taking the oath or affirmation, MPs sign the "test roll", a parchment book kept by the clerk.

The initial swearing in period lasts about two hours and most MPs are sworn in on the first day.

The process is expected to continue however for several more days, on 10, 11, 15 and 16 July.