Home > Constitution, David Cameron, Gerry Adams, Parliament > Is Gerry Adams still an MP?

Is Gerry Adams still an MP?

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Did Gerry Adams know just how much of a fuss it was going to cause when he decided to run for the Irish Parliament?

Adams, as the leader of Sinn Féin, has of course never sat in the Commons, despite being an elected Member, as he refuses to swear the Oath of Allegience to the Queen.

Adams could, if he chose to, remain an elected MP and serve in the Irish Parliament, but has expressed his reluctance to do so.

He wants to resign.

The problem is, MPs cannot resign.

Erskine May, the Parliamentary bible, sets out this long-standing rule:

“It is a settled principle of parliamentary law that a Member, after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his sit”

There are a few ways around this. Firstly, Adams could take the office of steward or bailiff of Her Majesty’s three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, or of the Manor of Northstead. These roles are purely nominal and can be given to any Member who applies to the Chancellor for them. Upon appointment, the Chancellor can then take away any Parliamentary privileges.

During Prime Minister’s Questions today, David Cameron seemed to suggest that Adams had taken on one of these rolls. However, Sinn Féin press releases countered this and when Nigel Dodds, leader of the DUP, asked a point of order for clarification, the deputy Speaker was unable to give a straight answer.

Applying for these positions would be an odd step for Adams, as he would have a position bequeathed to him by the British Government.

The other options are that he could be appointed to the House of Lords – which of course is highly unlikely.

The more entertaining option is that Adams could turn up at Parliament and try to vote. As he has not sworn the Oath, he would be ejected from the Commons and have his membership revoked (he would be treated as if he were dead).

This could create some great pictures.

Adams will undoubtably want to solve this problem before the Irish General Election, whenever that may be. But for now, it seems that he remains a Member of Parliament – list of MPs.

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  1. January 31, 2011 at 10:15 am

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