A group of 22 MPs, led by Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, and including one Conservative, Peter Bottomley, believe that MPs should be free to choose an oath of allegiance that doesn’t include mention of the monarch.  The late Tony Banks MP famously crossed his fingers when he swore the oath.

The group of 22 want members of the Commons and Lords to be able to swear allegiance to their ‘constituents and the nation’ instead.

Mr Bottomley told The Mail:

"We need to make the oath something that people are offered, rather than required to take. We should make provision for republicans or separatists. I wouldn’t drop the oath  –  I would make it optional. I am a subject of the Queen even more than I am a citizen of this country. I’d much prefer a bad monarchy to a good president. But people ought to be able to come to Parliament and argue that they don’t want the monarchy."

The suggestion has angered other Tories.  Lord Tebbit said the oath had served the nation "satisfactorily for the past 500 years" and "the fact that a silly group of people at the beginning of the 21st century think they know better seems to me to be a very dodgy proposition."

Geoffrey Cox MP attacked the move as "uncomprehending constitutional vandalism."  He continued:

"The Queen is the centre of the British constitution.  To remove her from the Parliamentary oath taken by Members of Parliament is a covert attempt to republicanise our constitution."

One of Boris Johnson’s first acts as Mayor of London was to place a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in City Hall.

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