Letter: Commons oath

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The Independent Online
First, it is the right thing, in a pluralist society, to have oaths for public service which are as neutral as possible.

Second, a willingness to modernise, without surrendering democratic principle, strips away the many implausible excuses used by Messrs Adams and McGuinness. And there is a practical example which the Government has initiated in relation to the Northern Ireland police service. The present RUC oath calls on new constables to promise to "well and truly serve" the Sovereign. Under the Scottish model favoured by the Government, the declaration would simply read: "I hereby do solemnly and sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Constable."

This would be a reasonable compromise that would apply to all MPs and undercut Sinn Fein's exploitation of the matter.

HARRY BARNES MP

(Derbyshire North East, Lab)

House of Commons

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