House of Commons Disqualification Act 1957

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1957 c. 20


House of Commons Disqualification Act , 1957

(5 & 6 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 20

An Act to make provision for disqualifying the holders of specified offices for membership of the House of Commons, and to repeal the enactments providing for the disqualification of the holders of offices or places of profit under the Crown and other offices, of persons having pensions from the Crown and of persons contracting with the Crown for or on account of the public service, and certain enactments disqualifying members of that House for holding other offices; to make corresponding provision in respect of the Senate and House of Commons of Northern Ireland; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Disqualification of holders of certain offices and place.

1 Disqualification of holders of certain offices and place.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person is disqualified for membership of the House of Commons who for the time being—

(a ) holds any of the judicial offices specified in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act;

(b ) is employed in the civil service of the Crown, whether in an established capacity or not, and whether for the whole or part of his time;

(c ) is a member of any of the regular armed forces of the Crown;

(d ) is a member of any police force maintained by a police authority;

(e ) is a member of the legislature of any country or territory outside the Commonwealth; or

(f ) holds any office described in Part II or Part III of the said First Schedule.

(2) A person who for the time being holds any office described in Part IV of the said First Schedule is disqualified for membership of the House of Commons for any constituency specified in relation to that office in the second column of the said Part IV.

(3) In this section the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say:—

‘civil service of the Crown’ includes the civil service of Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Foreign Service and Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service;

‘police authority’ means a police authority as defined for the purposes of the Police Pensions Act, 1948, or the Ministry of Home Affairs for Northern Ireland; and ‘member’ in relation to a police force means a person employed as a full-time constable;

‘regular armed forces of the Crown’ means the Royal Navy, the regular forces as defined by section two hundred and twenty-five of the Army Act, 1955, the regular air force as defined by section two hundred and twenty-three of the Air Force Act, 1955, the Women's Royal Naval Service, Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service and Voluntary Aid Detachments serving with the Royal Navy.

(4) Except as provided by this Act, a person shall not be disqualified for membership of the House of Commons by reason of his holding an office or place of profit under the Crown or any other office or place; and a person shall not be disqualified for appointment to or for holding any office or place by reason of his being a member of that House.

S-2 Ministerial offices.

2 Ministerial offices.

(1) Not more than the following numbers of persons being the holders of offices specified in the Second Schedule to this Act (in this section referred to as Ministerial offices) shall be entitled to sit and vote in the House of Commons at any one time, that is to say—

(a ) seventy persons in all;

(b ) twenty-seven persons being the holders of offices specified in Part I of the said Schedule.

(2) If at any time the number of members of the House of Commons who are holders of Ministerial offices, or of Ministerial offices of any class, exceeds the greatest number entitled to sit and vote in that House under the foregoing provisions of this section, none except any who were both members of that House and holders of Ministerial offices, or of Ministerial offices of the relevant class, as the case may be, before the excess occurred shall sit or vote therein until the number has been reduced, by death, resignation or otherwise, to the greatest number entitled to sit and vote as aforesaid.

(3) In paragraph (d of section one of the Ministers of the Crown (Transfer of Functions) Act, 1946 (which enables an Order in Council under that section to make consequential modifications of enactments described in that paragraph) the reference to enactments regulating the number of office holders who may be elected, and sit and vote, as members of the House of Commons shall be construed as a reference to this section and the Second Schedule to this Act; and the reference in section two of that Act to such enactments as are mentioned in the said paragraph (d ) shall be construed accordingly.

(4) A person holding a Ministerial office is not disqualified by this Act by reason of any office held by him ex officio as the holder of that Ministerial office.

S-3 Reserve and auxiliary forces, etc.

3 Reserve and auxiliary forces, etc.

(1) Notwithstanding paragraph (c of section one of this Act, a person being an officer on the retired or emergency list of any of the regular armed forces of the Crown, or holding an emergency commission in any of those forces, or belonging to any reserve of officers of any of those forces, is not disqualified as a member of those forces.

(2) Notwithstanding the said paragraph (c ), a naval, army, marine or air force pensioner who is recalled for service for which he is liable as such is not disqualified as a member of the regular armed forces of the Crown.

(3) A person is not disqualified under the said paragraph (c )by reason of his being an Admiral of the Fleet, a Field Marshal or a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, if he does not for the time being hold an appointment in the naval, military or air force service of the Crown.

(4) A person is not disqualified under paragraph (b ) of subsection (1) of section one of this Act by reason of his being a member of the Royal Observer Corps unless he is employed as such for the whole of his time.

S-4 Stewardship of Chiltern Hundreds, etc.

4 Stewardship of Chiltern Hundreds, etc.

4. For the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to the vacation of the seat of a member of the House of Commons who becomes disqualified by this Act for membership of that House, the office of steward or bailiff of Her Majesty's three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, or of the Manor of Northstead, shall be treated as included among the offices described in Part III of the First Schedule to this Act.

S-5 Provision for amendment of First Schedule.

5 Provision for amendment of First Schedule.

(1) If at any time it is resolved by the House of Commons that the First Schedule to this Act be amended, whether by the addition or omission of any office or the removal of any office from one Part of the Schedule to another, or by altering the description of any office specified therein, Her Majesty may by Order in Council amend that Schedule accordingly.

(2) A copy of the First Schedule to this Act as from time to time amended by Order in Council under this section or by or under any other enactment shall be prepared and certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments and deposited with the rolls of Parliament; and in all copies of this Act thereafter to be printed by Her Majesty's printer the said Schedule shall be printed in accordance with the copy so certified.

S-6 Effects of disqualification and provision for relief.

6 Effects of disqualification and provision for relief.

(1) Subject to any order made by the House of Commons under the following provisions of this section,—

(a ) if any person disqualified by this Act for membership of the House of Commons, or for membership of that House for a particular constituency, is elected as a member of that House, or as a member for that constituency, as the case may be, his election shall be void; and

(b ) if any person being a member of that House becomes disqualified by this Act for membership of that House, or for membership for the constituency for which he is sitting, his seat shall be vacated.

(2) If in a case falling or alleged to fall within the foregoing subsection it appears to the House of Commons that the grounds of disqualification or alleged disqualification under this Act which subsisted or arose at the material time have been removed, and that it is otherwise proper so to do, the House may by order direct that any such disqualification incurred on those grounds at that time shall be disregarded for the purposes of this section:

Provided that no such order shall affect the proceedings on any election petition or any determination of an election court, and this subsection shall have effect subject to the provisions of subsection (5) of section one hundred and twenty-four of the Representation of the People Act, 1949 (which relates to the making of an order by the House of Commons when informed of a certificate and any report of an election court).

(3) In any case where, apart from this provision, the Speaker of the House of Commons would be required to issue during a recess of that House a warrant for a new writ for election of a member of that House in the room of a member becoming disqualified by this Act, he may, if it appears to him that an opportunity should be given to the House to consider the making of an order under subsection (2) of this section, defer the issue of his warrant pending the determination of the House.

S-7 Jurisdiction of Privy Council as to disqualification.

7 Jurisdiction of Privy Council as to...

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