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Labour supply in the Indian caste system

From https://www.suannaoh.com/research

Priests could first stand for the House of Commons in 2001

The House of Commons (Removal of Clergy Disqualification) Act 2001 removed the disqualifications for clergy in standing for election and sit in the House of Commons. Through the interaction of different anti-Catholic legislation in the 18th and 19th century, Roman Catholic priests were still barred from sitting in the House of Commons until 2001. This included ex-priests.

The issue first came to a head when Bruce Kent came third in a seat in the 1997 election. The bill was drafted, but lapsed until the Labour Party endorsed an ex-priest for a safe seat. Without legislative action, he would not have been able to take his place in the House of Commons.

James MacManaway was the first priest to win a House of Commons seat in 150 years when he won a Belfast seat in 1950. The advice of the Attorney-General prior to his standing was there was no bar from standing because the Church of Ireland had been disestablished in 1869.

When he moved to take his seat, a select committee looked into the matter and then referred it to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that the Irish Church Act 1869 did disestablish the Church of Ireland, but since there was no express provision in that Act permitting its clergymen to sit as MPs, the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act 1801 still debarred any person

ordained to the office of priest or deacon’ from sitting or voting in the House of Commons. Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 specifically barred ‘person[s] in holy orders in the Church of Rome.

Although MacManaway was disqualified from its seat after sitting for 238 days, and he did not stand for the by-election, no legislative action was taken to correct this blot on British democracy.

Parliament passed up the opportunity to remedy the matter when passing the House of Commons (Disqualification) Act 1975. This Act disqualifies a large number of public office holders from sitting in the House of Commons.

Likewise, when the Lord Chancellor (Tenure of Office and Discharge of Ecclesiastical Functions) Act 1974 was passed, the issue of Catholic priests in the House of Commons was left to one side. This Act may provision for the exercise of Church of England ecclesiastical functions during any tenure of the office of Lord Chancellor, of horror of horrors, by Roman Catholics. The Lord Chancellor makes many appointments within the Church of England.

The Clergy Disqualification Act 1870 provided a procedure which enabled Church of England clergy to relinquish their clerical positions and, after a period of six months, be freed from the parliamentary disqualification. There is no equivalent statutory procedure for clergy of other churches.

And here ends my constitutional curio of the day.

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