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Oath Of Allegiance

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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asked the Prime Minister what are the categories of public office which require the taking of the Oath of Allegiance; and whether he will examine the desirability of extending these categories and also of instituting the taking of the Oath by candidates competing to enter such office.

Ministers of the Crown, Privy Councillors, certain high officers of State, Members of both Houses of Parliament, judicial officers, members of the clergy and members of the Armed Forces are required by statute to take the Oath of Allegiance. I am aware of no need for extending these categories.

In view of the fact that we harbour in this country a considerable number of Communists, declared and undeclared, many of whom on their own showing are potential traitors, would it not be advisable to make the taking of the Oath of Allegiance a more general qualification for other appointments under the Crown?

I should not have thought that a person who was preparing to engage in treason would boggle at an oath or two.

Is the Prime Minister aware that an oath would make very little difference to one who was a potential traitor; and could he say whether there is an oath of allegiance for the Grand National, and why Russian Hero was not "purged" before the race started.

Is the Prime Minister aware that 40 yeas ago the Oath of Allegiance was even exacted from junior civil servants, the lower ranges of civil servants; and can he say why it has fallen into disuse since then? Does not he think it would be a good plan to re-impose it?

I understand that the requirement that civil servants should take the Oath of Allegiance was imposed under Defence Regulations, and was allowed to lapse in 1921. I can see no reason why it should be reimposed; I do not think there is any special desirability in the matter.