New Tory MP declines to take religious oath

A new Tory MP has declined to swear a religious oath as she took her seat in parliament. Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, did not recite the traditional oath, which includes two references to God, but instead said: “I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance” to the Queen.

Chloe Smith MP

“I count myself an atheist, and I thought it was far better to be honest about that. I acted in accordance with my beliefs,” she said afterwards. Ms Smith said that she had no problems working with religious groups and had done so in her election campaign. She would continue to do so “in the service of Norwich North”.

At 27, she is the youngest MP, and one of her two sponsoring MPs for the Commons initiation ceremony was the oldest Conservative MP, 79-year-old Sir Peter Tapsell, who represents Louth and Horncastle in Lincolnshire. The other was Devon MP Angela Browning, who, said Ms Smith, had been especially helpful to her in her election campaign.