How does taking the Chiltern Hundreds to resign work?

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The Politicus
Dec 18, 2019 03:12 PM 0 Answers
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Recently I posted the question Can a Prime Minister be appointed if they do not have a seat in the Parliament? and got a reference to:

So if the Conservatives win a majority but Johnson loses his seat, it would not be unprecedented for one of his colleagues in a very safe seat to take the Chiltern Hundreds and trigger a by-election which Johnson could contest.

I didn't know about the Chiltern Hundreds so went through the article in Wikipedia to see:

"Taking the Chiltern Hundreds" refers to the legal fiction used to resign from the House of Commons. Since Members of Parliament are not permitted to resign, they are instead appointed to an "office of profit under the Crown", which requires MPs to vacate their seats.

In the 17th century Members of Parliament (MPs) were often elected against their will. On 2 March 1624, a resolution was passed by the House of Commons making it illegal for an MP to quit or wilfully give up his seat. Believing that officers of the Crown could not remain impartial, the House passed a resolution on 30 December 1680 stating that an MP who "shall accept any Office, or Place of Profit, from the Crown, without the Leave of this House ... shall be expelled [from] this House."

So this seems to be a workaround to resign: you get a place in Chiltern Hundreds and then your resignation becomes automatic for the incompatibility of positions.

However, it remains unclear to me: how many people can get this position? What if a big group of people want to resign at the same time? Do they get this position forever or just for the rest of the period?

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  • December 18, 2019