An oath to Queen Elizabeth may be dropped after it was challenged by a group of politicians.
The tradition of MPs swearing allegiance to the queen – who is the head of Parliament, the UK’s legislative body – has been in place for more than 500 years.
However, 22 politicians have launched a campaign insisting their priority should be to represent the people who voted for them, not the ruling monarch.
The group believe Parliament – which comprises the House of Commons and the House of Lords – should be allowed to swear allegiance to their “constituents and the nation” instead.
Mr Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, said: “The government should say, ‘Let’s have a debate, hear the arguments and see if there is a majority against changing the oath.’ I don’t think there would be.”
The campaign has sparked outrage, with former Conservative party chairman Lord Tebbit saying: “This seems to me to be an attack upon the state itself.
“The people behind this campaign must either oppose the idea of anyone who is non-partisan having a role in the affairs of state, or they would rather be swearing allegiance to Brussels.”
Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, added: “This is an act of uncomprehending constitutional vandalism. The queen is the centre of the British constitution.”
MPs are currently required to make the declaration when joining or returning to Parliament.
The oath reads: “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”
Atheists can replace the religious aspects of the declaration by saying they “solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm” their allegiance.
Those who do not agree to the oath can be fined £500 or even risk losing their seat in Parliament.