In the UK, parliamentary lawyers have been hard at work drafting a bill which could best be described as “legislative house clearing.” The bill is the latest in a series designed to clean up the statute book and repeal some of the quaint, outdated and sometimes downright silly laws that remain in force today. And after 900 years of lawmaking, there are many.
Nigel Cawthorne, author of “The Strange Laws of Old England,” cites a few of them: “It is illegal to fire a cannon within 300 yards of a dwelling house, it’s illegal to eat a mute swan –unless you’re the Queen of course. And it’s illegal to beat a carpet in the street. Although, you can shake a mat before 8 o’clock in the morning.”
Britain’s lawmakers are determined to drag their statute book into the 21st century. They could start by abolishing a law from the 1300’s which makes it illegal to enter parliament wearing a suit of armor.
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