It’s fair to say that Britain has a colourful legal history. In fact, British laws could be its own pub quiz round. Did you know that, under the Salmon Act 1986, it is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances? We found this out the hard way.
There’s been talk for years about whether it’s actually illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament or not. There’s even an interesting clause to this supposed law: as the Houses of Parliament is considered a royal place, anyone who kicks the bucket automatically qualifies for a state funeral – fancy right?
To date, there have been at least four deaths on the premises of the Houses of Parliament. Both Guy Fawkes and Sir Walter Raleigh were executed in the Old Palace yard. Spencer Perceval was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812, becoming the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated. In this same lobby just under 100 years later, Sir Alfred Bilson had a heart attack after casting his vote on a sugar duty bill.
Despite these notable deaths, none of them received a state funeral though.
So, it turns out that, despite its popularity, there has never been any law prohibiting death in the Houses of Parliament. Even the fancy funeral part is apocryphal. Well there you have it… utter tripe. Now brace yourself for the facts, because there are actually places in the world where it is illegal to die – more or less.