House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975


The House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that prohibits certain categories of people from becoming members of the House of Commons. It was an updated version of similar older acts, including the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1957.

House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975
Long titleAn Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to disqualification for membership of the House of Commons.
Citation1975 c. 24
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Dates
Royal assent8 May 1975
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The groups disqualified from all constituencies are:

  • Lords Spiritual
  • judges
  • civil servants
  • serving regular members of the armed forces, except Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals and Marshals of the Royal Air Force
  • full-time police constables
  • members of legislatures of non-Commonwealth countries, other than Ireland
  • holders of certain administrative and diplomatic offices
  • all members of certain bodies, such as tribunals and government departments, plus some statutory corporations such as Channel 4

Lords Lieutenant, High Sheriffs and the Governor of the Isle of Wight are also disqualified from seats for constituencies within their area.

Section 2 limits the number of government officials (specifically, holders of offices listed in Schedule 2) in the House of Commons at any one time to 95. Any appointed above that limit are forbidden to vote until the number is reduced to 95.

Section 4 effectively adds the Crown Stewards and Bailiffs of the Chiltern Hundreds and of the Manor of Northstead to Part III to Schedule 1, thus naming them as offices whose holders are disqualified. These offices are sinecures, used in modern times to effect resignation from the House of Commons. Prior to 1926, this disqualification was due to them being "offices of profit under the Crown", but that disqualification was abolished in 1926 and by s. 1(4) of this Act.

The election to the Commons of a disqualified person is invalid, and the seat of an MP who becomes disqualified is vacated immediately (triggering a by-election). The Privy Council has jurisdiction to determine whether a purported MP is disqualified; the issue may be tried in the High Court, Court of Session or High Court of Northern Ireland as appropriate for the constituency.

Amendments


This Act was amended by subsequent legislation:

See also