Rev Kenneth Stewart

The Constitution of the United Kingdom and its Oaths

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The Constitution of the United Kingdom and its Oaths

However, the legitimate question arises: Can we not enter Parliament with a view to changing the constitution or, indeed, with a view to restoring it to its original Reformed and Presbyterian foundation according to the former oaths?

Admittedly, this would be the first instinct of a Reformed Presbyterian (traditionally, and in spite of the policy of dissent, the most politically aware of all Scottish Presbyterians).

However, there is a problem with this course of action which we need to understand fully before we propose another possible remedy. The problem lies in the fact that all parts of the Government – the Monarch, Parliament and all the executive officers of Government – as it is now established constitutionally, are solemnly bound by oath to each other.

These oaths are the Oath of Coronation (taken by the Monarch) and the Oath of Allegiance (taken by her officers of state – including MP’s).

Crucially, these two oaths belong together and each one needs to be understood in the light of the other: By requiring the Oath of Coronation from the Monarch, the people declare to that Monarch the conditions upon which they agree to place the crown on her head. By the Oath of Allegiance, her officers – including her MP’s – solemnly pledge to support her in the fulfilment of her oath and to help her discharge it. We need to examine and understand both these oaths.

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