MPs to begin swearing in ceremony

Election of Speaker is first business for the Commons

THE region’s newly elected MPs will this week begin swearing the Loyal Oath of Allegiance as the House of Commons sits for the first time since the General Election.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs will sit on the Government benches while Labour, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, the Ulster parties and the Green MP will form the opposition.

More than a third of MPs, 226 of the new 650-seat chamber, will be fresh faces in Parliament - as voters took their revenge on the Labour government and others decided to call it a day after the expenses scandal.

Proceedings will begin this afternoon with the Commons being ceremonially summoned to the House of Lords, where the Lower House will be instructed to elect a speaker.

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MPs will take their seats to decide whether or not John Bercow should be kept on as Speaker. If they agree, the swearing in of all MPs will start tomorrow afternoon.

If they decide they want a new speaker, the election will take place tomorrow and MPs will have to wait until Thursday morning before filing in to take the oath of allegiance.

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The election of the Speaker is the only business MPs are allowed to conduct before they have taken the oath - or made the non-religious solemn affirmation - to the Queen.

The Speaker is the first MP to take the oath, followed by Father of the House Sir Peter Tapsell, the Cabinet, the shadow cabinet and other privy counsellors and ministers.

Backbench MPs are taken in order of seniority, based on length of service in the Commons. The procedure is expected to run into next week.

New MPs from the region taking the oath will be Priti Patel (Conservative, Witham), Matt Hancock (Con, Suffolk West), Therese Coffey (Con, Suffolk Coastal), Dr Dan Poulter (Con, Suffolk Coastal & Ipswich North) and Ben Gummer (Con, Ipswich).

MPs can choose to swear on either the New Testament, the Old Testament (in English or Hebrew), the Koran, the Granth, the Welsh Bible or the Gaelic Bible.

Today will be the first time that the Tories will sit to the right of the speaker’s chair since 1997. Prime Minister David Cameron has only ever sat on the Opposition benches, having entered the Commons in 2001.

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