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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Find guidance on temporary procedures during the pandemic including voting, questions and statements. Members can find detailed guidance on participating virtually and voting on the Parliamentary intranet (please note: this link will only work if you have a parliamentary email account.)

How to swear in

These steps are for you as an MP, rather than your staff.


  1. If you’re unsure when you should swear in, seek advice from your whips. Two to four days are normally set aside for swearing in. On the first day, the Speaker will take the oath or affirm, and then announce the order for swearing in. This is usually: the MP with the longest continuous service in the House; the Prime Minister followed by the Cabinet; the shadow Cabinet; Privy Counsellors not in any of these groups; other ministers; MPs by date of first election (unless you haven’t been an MP continually during that time, in which case it’s the election when your most recent period of continuous service began).
  2. Swearing in takes place in the Chamber and is televised. You should queue up facing the Speaker’s Chair on the left-hand side of the Chamber.
  3. When you reach the front of the queue, state your name and constituency. A clerk will ask whether you want to swear the oath or affirm (the non-religious equivalent). If you want to swear, you will be asked which holy book you wish to swear on. There’s no set list of texts you may use when swearing in. All MPs are asked before arriving which text they would prefer to use and then every effort is made to ensure that it’s provided.
  4. If you’re swearing, hold the text of the holy book in your uplifted hand and say the words of the oath, which will be held on a card in front of you. You can also take the oath in the Scottish manner, with uplifted hand but not holding the holy book. If you’re affirming, read the words of the affirmation, which will be held on a card in front of you. The oath and affirmation are available in Braille.
  5. Oaths or affirmations should initially be made in English but can be repeated in Cornish, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster Scots or Welsh. Oath/affirmation cards in these languages are available at the time of swearing in.
  6. Once you have sworn or affirmed, you will be asked to sign the Test Roll (a book headed by the oath and affirmation, which is kept by the Clerk of the House).
  7. Finally, you shake hands with the Speaker in the Chair.