Die in Parliament and you're under arrest
London, United Kingdom
06 November 2007 06:40
Queen Elizabeth II's speech in the British Parliament on Tuesday
may have been routine, but at least nobody was bored to death.
That would have been against the law.
Dying in Parliament is an offence -- and by far the most absurd
law in Britain, according to a survey of nearly 4 000 people by a
television channel showing a legal drama series.
And though the lords were clad in their red and white ermine
cloaks and ambassadors from around the world wore colourful national
costumes, at least nobody turned up in a suit of armour -- which is illegal.
Other rules deemed utterly stupid include one that permits a pregnant
woman to urinate in a policeman's hat, and murdering
bow-and-arrow-carrying Scotsmen within the city walls of York,
A law stating that in Liverpool, only a clerk in a tropical-fish store is
allowed to be publicly topless, was also ridiculous, said a poll of 3 931
people for UKTV Gold television out on Tuesday.
Nearly half of those surveyed admitted to breaking the ban on eating
mince pies on Christmas Day, which dates back to the 17th century
and was originally designed to outlaw gluttony during the rule of the
Puritan Oliver Cromwell.
The laws and other regulations were culled from published research
into ancient legislation that has never been repealed although
subsequent statutes have rendered them obsolete.
Respondents were given a shortlist and asked to vote.
Most ridiculous British laws
1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%).
2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the
British monarch upside-down (7%).
3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as
a clerk in a tropical-fish store (6%).
4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day (5%).
5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the
use of your toilet, you must let them enter (4%).
6. A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants,
including in a policeman's helmet (4%).
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 (3,5%).
8. It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want
him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him
9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour (3%).
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 (2%).