Naval Officers in Parliament

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    Lawrie Phillips

    Naval officers who were also Members of Parliament were serving in this dual state as late as the Second World War. When and by what orders was this curtailed? Were they latterly all RNR or RNVR? This is a real bit of naval history which I would like to record in The Royal Navy Day by Day. I wonder who were the last dual-hatted NOs?


    Frank Scott

    John Langford-Holt was a Lt Cdr (A) RN when elected (against the run of things) as Tory Member for Shrewsbury in the July 1945 General Election. He was a local, and conducted an unusual campaign as he did no electioneering whatsoever (he was away at sea), and specifically stated that if elected he would neither seek nor accept any ministerial office. Somewhat to his surprise he was elected, but remained on active duty for some time after the end of the war, when as he put it, their Lordships eventually indicated that he should make up his mind whether he wanted to do ‘a bit of governing’, or continue in his career as a naval officer. He decided that the peacetime navy was a bit boring, so took up his seat & true to his word remained a backbencher until he retired in 1983. However, he was far from idle, as he was a keen member of many committees, and as a result was knighted in 1962.

    David Hepper

    Members of the Armed Forces are currently banned from being MPs under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, a piece of legislation that updated the earlier 1957 Act of the same name.

    From reading this Commons Library Briefing Document, it would appear that it was the 1957 Act that introduced this?

    Disqualification for membership of the House of Commons

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