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New SDLP MP writes letter to Commons speaker protesting against oath of allegiance to the Queen

“My primary allegiance is to the people of South Belfast, in all their diversity,” Claire Hanna wrote to the House Speaker today.

Image: Twitter/Claire Hanna

NEWLY ELECTED SDLP MP Claire Hanna has registered a protest against the oath of allegiance to the queen on her first day in parliament.

“My primary allegiance is to the people of South Belfast, in all their diversity, and I made the affirmation in order to serve them,” she wrote in a letter to the House Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

Although Hanna pledged an allegiance to the Queen in the House of Commons today as is required for newly elected MPs, she followed the oath with a pledge “to the people of South Belfast”.

Hanna later tweeted out a letter that stated she was registering “a respectful protest” against the requirement to make a statement of allegiance to the Crown as a Precondition to taking her seat. 

I do not believe it serves trust in parliament for MPs to be obliged to rehearse pledges that are not true for them. I believe a better pledge would gbe one to Parliamentary service on behalf of our constituents, with an allegiance pledge for those who wish to make one.

“I chose an affirmation rather than an oath, but the words do not reflect my outlook.

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“I am committed to the Good Friday Agreement principles of partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of the relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South of Ireland, and between these islands.”

Sinn Féin MPs who are elected don’t take their seats in Westminster because they are opposed to pledging allegiance to the British monarchy. There are seven Sinn Féin MPs, and two SDLP MPs, with one Alliance Party MP and eight DUP MPs. 

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