Has anyone died in the Houses of Parliament?

imageAnyone who has died in the Houses of Parliament will have committed the UK’s most absurd offence – according to Suffolk’s finest political correspondent, Graham Dines.

This is one of the absurd laws highlighted on his post today following a survey commissioned by satellite television channel UKTV Gold. The poll of 3,931 people asked the public to pick the most ludicrous British and foreign laws still in existence, from a shortlist. Twenty seven per cent of those questioned thought the law against dying in the Houses of Parliament was the most ludicrous.

The fact is, if anyone has died in the Houses of Parliament, what could they be charged with – and who would face criminal proceedings as a deceased person would be unable to plead? What is the penalty?

I couldn’t resist adding the whole list of ludicrous laws, they might make you smile like they did me. Which one do you find the most amusing?

Top 10 most ridiculous British laws named were:

1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.

2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down.

3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except working as a clerk in a tropical fish store.

4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day.

5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter.

6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet.

7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen.

8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing.

9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour.

10. In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.

Most outrageous foreign laws:

1. In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk

2. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation.

3. In Bahrain, a male doctor can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror.

4. In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm.

5. In Alabama, it is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.

6. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed.

7. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.

8. In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except funerals or hospital visits.

9. In Japan, there is no age of consent.

10. In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon.


  1. Has anyone died in the Houses of Parliament? Yes, a Tory Welsh Office Minister in the early 1980s (by the surname of Roberts) who had a heart attack at the dispatch box (during Welsh Office Questions).

  2. David Boothroyd is right. The last person to die in the Commons Chamber was the Welsh Office minister Michael Roberts in February 1983, although the polite fiction that he died at St Thomas’s Hospital was applied.

    Four years earlier there was the incident involving Labour Deputy Chief Whip Walter Harrison wheeling a gravely ill MP into the voting lobbies on a stretcher during the vote of confidence on the Callaghan government. The Tory whip John Stradling Thomas challenged his right to do so on the grounds that the MP concerned was clearly dead, but Harrison managed to convince him he was alive, although he did die a couple of days later.

  3. This really is getting rather bizarre.

    Ellee, you say:

    [T]he fact is that no comment has been deleted. One was held up in comment moderation while I was out and later published…

    The fact is that several comments have been removed from the thread Clive links to above. Even if I hadn’t seen the comments in question with my own eyes while submitting my own comments, anyone who reads the thread now can clearly see that some comments have been removed. David has made similar observations regarding this thread.

    I’m not sure what you hope to gain by suggesting that no comments have been removed as it demonstrably isn’t true.

    Also, can I take this opportunity to point out that I politely asked you a couple of questions in that thread but didn’t get a response. Just a friendly reminder in case you’ve forgotten.

  4. Jherad, I noticed a similar occurence on the following thread yesterday:

  5. Ellee, if none of Tim’s comments have been deleted, then some of your threads ready very strangely…

    For example. Tim has complained about the fact that you’ve left a really nasty smear against him here:

    Whilst deleting his comments. If you *haven’t* deleted his comments, then why does this ‘Teri’ start laying into Tim? The (remaining) thread doesn’t mention him before then…

  6. Why, in this thread, are you responding to a “Tim”? There are no comments from a “Tim” in this thread. Either you are having a conversation with a ghost or the comments have been deleted.

  7. David, the fact is that no comment has been deleted. One was held up in comment moderation while I was out and later published. That seemed to upset him, and the same with his trolls when it happened to them too because I was out. Also because I refused to give him the IP address of a blogger who criticised him, he has turned against me in this way. I shall always protect the confidential information of people who post comments here. My credibility is firmly in tact. I shall not give in to any intimidation and threats.

  8. Spencer Perceval was actually still living when he was removed to a nearby house. But there are examples of people dying in Parliament: Welsh office minister Michael Roberts dropped dead at the despatch box in 1983 while making a speech, and Lord Montague of Oxford died in the chamber of the House of Lords shortly after finishing a speech in 1999. Then there is the tragic case of Airey Neave.

    PS Ellee, I do think that Tim Ireland has you banged to rights on this one. You would regain a lot of credibility if you no longer claimed that you had not deleted his comments.

  9. I haven’t censored one word of Tim Ireland. Maybe he censored himself.

    Then why do you seem to be having a one-sided conversation with someone called Tim on this page?

    Tim, Regarding your request, I regard it as confidential information and am not prepared to pass it on.

    Where’s Tim’s half of the conversation?

  10. Jherad, I haven’t censored one word of Tim Ireland. Maybe he censored himself.

  11. I am very sorry that you appear to be censoring Tim Ireland, whilst allowing libellous troll posts to stand – and then brushing off his attempts to find out who is behind them as ‘threats’ Ellee.

    This is a disappointing state of affairs. Anothing ‘blog’ slipping to the dark side.

  12. The bullet was fired in the lobby of the House of Commons but I guess Perceval wasn’t declared dead until his corpse was off the premises. I’m not aware of the Perceval family having come been prosecuted for his life ending at Parliament (say in blocking inheritance) but nobody knows if he faced charges in the next life.

  13. Brilliant! Where was Spencer Percival killed?

  14. It’s too hard to choose a favourite: they’re all wonderful!

    I’m sorry to read your comments to Tim. How sad that someone should resort to threats. Well done you on standing firm.

  15. Steven_L

    These ‘facts’ are nearly always nonsense. Let’s take the Japan ‘no age of consent’ law for starters.

    Article 177 of the Japanse Penal (criminal) code:

    ‘A person who, through violence or intimidation, has sexual intercourse with a female person of not less than thirteen (13) years of age commits the crime of rape and shall be punished with imprisonment at forced labour for a limited term of not less than two years. The same shall apply to a person who has sexual intercourse with a female person under thirteen (13) years of age.’

  16. Tim, Sorry, but no, and please don’t send me any more threatening emails. Don’t expect me to respond, or to phone you. And I’m not going to divulge confidential information to you about people who leave comments on my site.

    I regard Nadine as a superb woman, a superb MP and a superb blogger. Nothing you say will change that.

  17. What about the stupid laws from Brussels Ellee?

  18. Tim, Regarding your request, I regard it as confidential information and am not prepared to pass it on.

  19. Crushed and Marina, fantastic additional info, and many thanks to Captain Picard for such an honour. I am just going to feed my goldfish – and hope they are still sober. 😉

  20. Good blog, Ellee. One for my Quality Posts.

  21. “Rule of thumb” is said to derive from and old English law that a man could not beat his wife with a stick thicker than a thumb. Very good blog Elle.

  22. It is illegal for a Welshman to enter the grounds of Hereford Cathedral.

    Oral sex remains illegal in most US states.

    In Alberta, a released prisoner has a legal right to a horse and a firearm.

  23. One of your best ever – loved them!!

  24. What a great collection Ellee. Get a fish drunk? I would think that highly unlikely but since all laws are usually passed after some occurrence I guess at least one person did.

  25. Actually I thought the British laws were all perfectly reasonable except the one about dying in the houses of parliament – Broon and Cameron would never make another speech if it was enforced.

  26. So what did you think of the Queen’s speach

    1) We shall keep our eye on weapons of mass destruction, whether non-existent in Iraq or Iran
    2) We shall keep an eye on Climate Change, whether at home or abroad
    3) We shall ‘subsidise’ more social housing to artificially maintain house prices high
    4) We shall see rises in Council Tax.

    All with the Rotal ‘WE’ of course.

  27. 5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter.

    6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet.

    Talk about taking the piss

  28. PS – I thought half the people in the ole House of Lords were the walking dead, they just hadn’t woken up to the fact that they are deceased or defunct.

  29. lol Elle,
    I never new that about tropical fish stores in Liverpool. So, they have no ‘topless’ bars or go-go dancers. Aaah, I’m showing my age now. Those lunches in go-go bars in London in the 70s – I guess page three made them redundant.

  30. Ian Lidster

    I must remember the next time I visit Liverpool to stop by a tropical fish store.
    The question that begs is ‘why?’

  31. Those gave me a good laugh, Ellee, especially no 5 – no way would I let anyone in!


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