Law bans dying in the Houses of Parliament

A ban on dying in the Houses of Parliament has been voted Britain's most ridiculous law.

It beat off strong competition from the law making it an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the monarch's head upside down on an envelope.

A bye-law in Liverpool where women were apparently banned from going topless in public unless they worked in a tropical fish store came third.

However, the city has denied such a rule existed, saying it was an urban myth.

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: "It's something that has been heard of before and does crop up from time to time, but it is absurd."

But people really are banned from dying in parliament on the grounds that it is a Royal palace.

Nigel Cawthorne, author of The Strange Laws of Old England, said: "Anyone who dies there is technically entitled to a state funeral. If they see you looking a bit sick they carry you out quickly."

Also in the top ten, at number seven, is the Royal Prerogative of 1324 which decrees that any whale or sturgeon found on the British coast belongs to the monarch.

Other laws on the list include Oliver Cromwell's decree from around 1644 to combat gluttony by banning people from eating mince pies on Christmas Day and the old London bye-law allowing pregnant woman to relieve themselves in a policeman's helmet.

The survey, carried out by television channel UKTV Gold, also asked people to comment on some of the more absurd international laws. Top of that list was a bye-law in Ohio banning residents from getting a fish drunk.

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