Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna, members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) who were both recently reelected as MPs in Northern Ireland, each put a distinctly Irish spin on their oaths in the British Parliament on Tuesday, July 9.

“I’ll read out this empty formula in order to represent my constituents, but it’s under protest,” Eastwood, the head of the SDLP, said while making his oath of allegiance in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Eastwood, who represents Foyle, then proceeded with the affirmation: “I do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty the King Charles, his heirs, and successors according to law."

He, however, added: “My true allegiance is to the people of Derry and the people of Ireland.”

My allegiance is now and always will be with the people of Derry who send me to Westminster to represent them and the people of Ireland.

No empty formula can change that.

— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) July 9, 2024

Meanwhile, Eastwood's party colleague Claire Hanna, who represents South Belfast & Mid Down, spoke Irish during her oath.

"I gcairdeas & le dóchas le hÉireann Nua réitithe, dearbhaím mo dhíiseacht do mhuintir Bhéal Feirste Theas & An Dún Lár," Hanna said, which means "In friendship & hope of a reconciled new Ireland, I affirmed my allegiance to the people of South Belfast & Mid Down."

Before making the same solemn affirmation as Eastwood, Hanna said she was reading the words "required to serve" her constituents.

Parliamentary rules state that the oath / affirmation must first be made and taken in English, but members can follow this with an oath or affirmation in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, or Cornish.

SDLPs Claire Hanna MP begins her affirmation in Irish and states she takes it "in hope of a reconciled new Ireland"

— James McCarthy (@JamesMcCarthy97) July 9, 2024

Eastwood and Hanna were both reelected during last week's General Election in the United Kingdom. Overall, the Labour Party clinched a "landslide" victory, ending more than a decade of Conservatives being in power.

In Northern Ireland, 18 seats in the House of Commons were up for grabs, one for each constituency. While the SDLP ran candidates in each constituency, only Eastwood and Hanna were elected. 

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin won the most seats, seven. The Democratic Unionist Party won five and the Alliance Party, Ulster Unionist Party, Traditional Unionist Voice, and an Independent each won one seat.

While the SDLP's two MPs expressed their protest on Tuesday, Sinn Féin is maintaining its longstanding policy of not taking their seats in British Parliament, in part because it would require them to swear allegiance to the monarchy.