Naval Officers in Parliament
Tagged: naval MPs
- April 10, 2021 at 3:13 pm #21535Lawrie PhillipsParticipant
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?
LAWRIE PHILLIPSApril 11, 2021 at 4:33 pm #21538Frank ScottParticipant
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.April 12, 2021 at 9:13 am #21540David HepperParticipant
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?February 12, 2022 at 8:34 pm #22766Lawrie PhillipsParticipant
What of naval ratings in Parliament? During the Second World War did serving naval personnel who were also MPs wear uniform in the House of Commons? A.P. Herbert, the humorist, had served as an officer in the RNVR – the Royal Naval Division – during the First World War. In 1939 he enlisted in the River Emergency Service which operated on the Thames. When that Service merged with the Royal Naval Auxiliary Patrol he was made a Petty Officer with, I am told, authority to fly the White Ensign in his converted canal boat Water Gipsy. This all sounds remarkable. I read that he wore his naval uniform on all occasions – if this included the chamber of the House of Commons he may have been the only serving naval rating ever to have done so. Can this be true?
LAWRIE PHILLIPSFebruary 13, 2022 at 4:25 pm #22768Frank ScottParticipant
It would certainly seem in character for A P Herbert to have worn his Petty Officer’s uniform when attending the House of Commons in WW2, after all when he married in WW1 he had not been commissioned & wore his Leading Seaman’s uniform. By the way his Great-Grandson is a Labour MP, Toby Perkins.
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