Off with his head!
Boris Johnson hasn’t been having a great run of things; and having this week become the first Prime Minister to have been found to have misled the reigning monarch probably won’t improve matters. With cries of treason, the mind wanders to what fate might await Mr Johnson in respect of this heinous crime. Actually, no crime has been committed, but BoJo might have been sweating for a few minutes whilst he looked up the definition of treason on the statute book. High treason dates back to the Treason Act 1351 and covers matters such as killing the Queen, declaring war against her, or siding with her enemies (but nothing about misleading). Unbelievably, the penalty for such crime was, until as recently as 1998, mandatory execution, usually by hanging, drawing and quartering. This isn’t the only ancient law that has been recently repealed or amended. Until 1960, every Englishman was required to keep and practice with a longbow. It was also apparently legal to kill a Scotsman with a bow within the city walls of York; however, a documented FOI request of York CC in 2012 revealed that there had (reassuringly) been no such legal shootings in the previous 10 years. Whilst there is some debate about such on the Law Commission website, it might also be a crime to allow a common pet dog to mate with a royal dog, to stand sockless within 100 yards of the Queen and to stick a stamp containing the Queen’s head upside down on an envelope. Finally, the legality of dying in Parliament has also been questioned. According to the Law Commission the suggestion that physical death in Parliament is a crime is just an urban myth. As to career death, we shall see.