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Gerry Adams makes British Parliamentary history

Michael Crick | 19:18 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

Gerry Adams, it seems, has made Parliamentary history - British Parliamentary history. It appears that the Sinn Fein leader managed to resign as a Westminster MP last Friday without going through the traditional procedures.

I wrote here a few weeks ago that if Adams planned to stand down as a Westminster MP, in order to stand for the Irish Parliament, he would have to go through the usual rigmarole whereby a resigning MP applies for an office of profit under the Crown - the British Crown.

All rather embarrassing for the world's leading Irish Republican.

A resolution of the House of Commons from almost 400 years ago - March 1624 - says an MP cannot directly resign their seat except by death, disqualification or expulsion.

A House of Commons factsheet states: "A Member wishing to resign has to go through the process of applying for a paid office of the Crown... There are two such offices - Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, and of the Manor of Northstead."

And it's the Chancellor of the Exchequer who grants them the job.

The Treasury this afternoon were quite cagey. They confirmed that no application had been received and stressed that the Chancellor's role is entirely ceremonial.

A Sinn Fein spokesman told Newsnight that Adams "wrote to the Speaker's office on Friday and informed him of his resignation. It's a non-issue from our perspective. He submitted his resignation and that's it. He's stepped down from that position. He certainly didn't apply for the Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead."

It seems Mr Adams has found some way of resigning from Parliament without going through these ancient procedures.

And the British Constitution has been changed for ever.

Update at 18:50:

I've just asked a senior Parliamentary official whether Gerry Adams is still an MP.

"At the last count, yes he is," he told me.

It's all governed by the Parliamentary bible Erskine May, it seems, and the following section:

"It is a settled principle of parliamentary law that a Member, after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his seat; and, in order to evade this restriction, a Member who wishes to retire accepts office under the Crown, which legally vacates his seat and obliges the House to order a new writ."

So in British law, Gerry Adams is still an MP, whether he wants to be or not. Until he applies for one of the two stewardships.

I was also advised that one way Adams might get round this without expressing allegiance to the British Crown in any form would be to turn up at the House of Commons and try to sit in the Chamber.

He would then be automatically disqualified from the House on the grounds that he hasn't sworn the oath, and a writ would then be moved for a by-election in West Belfast.

"The seat is vacated as if they were dead," I'm told.

And what a drama it would be if Adams were to do that, and be ejected from the Commons.

If Adams was elected to the Irish Parliament it would be no problem in British law for him to serve as an MP for the Irish and British Parliaments simultaneously. That was allowed by the Disqualifications Act passed in 2000.

Update at 1915:

The Speaker's office have been in touch: Gerry Adams remains a Member of Parliament unless or until he applies to the Chancellor for an office of profit under the Crown.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Seriously, who cares?

  • Comment number 2.

    About time! Our constitutional arrangements are so archaic it's ridiculous. It's a shame politicians couldn't give us some real constitutional change and get rid of the biggest quango of all, the House of Lords, or let people decide on all the options for an effective voting system etc etc etc.

    Oh well, maybe in another 100 years or so we will see the end of another archaic constitutional arrangement that no one knew existed.

    http://extranea.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 3.

    Let me posit an alternative explanation for the known facts. Gerry Adams has not resigned, because he cannot: Members of Parliament cannot resign because of the resolution of the House of Commons of 2 March 1623/4. He may have written to the Speaker resigning his post but that is neither here nor there. This is the procedure for resigning from the Northern Ireland Assembly but it is not a valid procedure in Westminster. The Speaker cannot invent on the hop a new procedure for MPs to resign; he does not have the power to.

    Given that no appointment to a disqualifying office has been notified (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press2011_index.htm%29, the upshot of it is that Gerry Adams is still MP for Belfast West at the time of writing, whatever he or Sinn Féin consider his position to be. In support of that, his name still appears on the list of MPs: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

  • Comment number 4.

    Just for the record Gerry Adams never sat in the British Parliament. And the Irish Parliament in called the Dail.

  • Comment number 5.

    Since Mr. Adams never took his seat nor swore the oath of allegiance it could be argued that he was not a Member of Parliament anyway.

    He was elected by his consituents because he had no intention of representing them in that parliament and since they are the people who really count in this matter then nobody need be too concerned.

    So Mr. Adams writing a wee letter to Mr.Bercow to end this farce is just being polite.

    The question we should all be asking is how come it is former terrorists who know how to be polite rather than the police who would climb into bed with your wife without so much as a by your leave.

  • Comment number 6.

    'DATING BACK TO MEDIEVAL TIMES' - THE WESTMINSTER CITADEL PROBLEM

    The whole morass of hypocrisy, cant, dissembling, connivance etc, that fills the fetid Chamber and gives of an atmosphere, only breathable by Westminster Creatures, is lynch-pinned by monarchy, places and sinecures, from medieval times.

    The Citadel is a symbol of our immaturity as a state. Small wonder we are state war-mongers, swindlers, liars, bribers and friends of torturers.

    But look! We have free speech. Those serfs and peasants never had that.

    I've just remembered - it was free speech they tried to take from Adams!

  • Comment number 7.

    Yeah I don't think Sinn Fein are too bothered about the British Constitution. Although if he wins the seat in the Republic (unlikely)and is still a member of Parliament will he then be excluded?

    Have to say, this is another example of the unwritten constitution striking again. If it's been done before you can do it. If it hasn't been done before it doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means it's never been done before.

  • Comment number 8.

    I've always greatly admired the sense of tradition in your country, even if some of the traditions might not be recognised by their original progenitors, however I sometime fear that you find it hard to separate the quaint (beloved of tourists), from the merely daft, which impede your progress.

  • Comment number 9.

    If Gerry Adams wants to vacate his seat without becoming a Crown servant (even as a legal fiction) there's a really easy way. All he has to do is turn up at Westminster and take his seat or vote in a division without taking the oath. Instant disqualification follows. Last happened, accidentally, in 1924.

  • Comment number 10.

    Actually the Irish parliament is called the Oireachtas. The Dáil (not "the Dail") is the lower house. But when writing for an audience not familiar with Irish politics it's natural to use equivalent terms to quickly convey the meaning to the audience.

    Adams has to leave the Commons because of the requirements of Irish law. It would be interesting to see an Irish court ruling on this one!

  • Comment number 11.

    So if he resigns without permission, what then ? will he be punished by being expelled ?

    It's time we got rid of this kind of rubbish. You'll be telling me next we don't need a man with a red flag to walk in front of a car all the time.

  • Comment number 12.

    THE PEDANTS' SOCIETY IS ALIVE AND WELL (above)

    And just as well, otherwise those who seek the society of pedants would have nowhere to socialise among their own.

  • Comment number 13.

    I seem to remember that, 400 years ago, there wasn't even a secret ballot to elect MPs, leading to all kinds of corruption. How, then, can parliamentary rules set out in those days be used to determine how MPs have to do things nowadays?

  • Comment number 14.

    THE ANCIENT RITE OF GIVUPPERY (#11)

    Unilateral resignation was made an offence when Eric the Weedy took on 'Entrails Oakenchest' in 243 BC. Eric's bodyguard tried to resign and were made to wear pink frocks, until that was declared tacitly sexist and homophobic.

    The red flag in front of a car, was a myth arising from a spate of deaths, on the road, of men with red flags. They were a less known Morris splinter group (how that term arose) wiped out by homicidal ancestors of Jeremy Clarkson, who spread the rumour to avoid their madness being detected. In recent times madness has become a pre-condition of acceptance.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mr Adams has presumably claimed his parlimentary salary, and office expenses, since being elected as an MP. Will he also be entitled to a pension courtesy of the British taxpayer?

  • Comment number 16.

    #6:"I've just remembered - it was free speech they tried to take from Adams!"
    And the IRA took free speech permanently from its many victims.
    Seriously though, I think a lot of you people should get yourselves a life and a sense of humour. I think it's funny that Adams may be prevented from taking up a seat in the Irish parliament because of his reluctance to apply for the Chiltern Hundreds. Long live our eccentric rules and regulations, I say!
    But then, no doubt as someone else said, he doesn't rate his chances of getting in in the republic, so sending a pretend resignation which won't be accepted is sufficient to enable him to say to anyone in Ireland that he's resigned as an MP and there's the end of it.
    Maybe he wouldn't intend to take up his seat there anyway?

  • Comment number 17.

    Surely the point is that if he 'technically' remains a Westminster MP then West Belfast will have no parliamentary representation for the next four years.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have said what I thought appropriate - just to reassure you that I am not a machine...

  • Comment number 20.

    131045: No, Gerry Adams hasn't been paid any salary - because the salary of an MP only starts when they take their seat by taking the oath or affirm allegiance to the Crown. Sinn Féin members are abstentionist and do not take their seats. They are eligible for some expenses but not all of them.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    The author says 'My guiding rule is that in any story there's usually something the politicians would prefer the world not to know. My job is to find that out.'

    This non story appears unworthy of his laudable objective.

  • Comment number 23.

    1) The Irish Parliament might well be called the Oireachtas in Irish, but we are speaking English here.

    2) I'm not sure why Extranea is whinging about the House of Lords. It's a revising chamber, where hasty legislation sent up by the Commons can be improved, and things that were not thought about or are ambiguous can be sorted out. It's detailed, boring, and dull work (obviously beneath the dignity of Extranea to consider), but when the HoL was largely populated by the hereditaries, by and large they got on with that work to everyone's benefit. You'll note how Blair's "peoples peers" notion was a complete failure - they never turned up to do any work.

  • Comment number 24.

    "17. At 7:33pm on 24 Jan 2011, oldyorky wrote:

    Surely the point is that if he 'technically' remains a Westminster MP then West Belfast will have no parliamentary representation for the next four years."

    They haven't had any of that since 1983 so I doubt they'll notice.

  • Comment number 25.

    I give up!!

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    15. 131045
    "Mr Adams has presumably claimed his parlimentary salary, and office expenses, since being elected as an MP. Will he also be entitled to a pension courtesy of the British taxpayer?

    "

    Sinn Féin MP's salaries are withheld by the British government. And they claim only those expenses directly related to the cost of staffing and running their London and constituency offices. No Sinn Féin MPs were touched by the "expenses scandal".

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good luck Gerry!
    You will certainly be very busy in your next job.

  • Comment number 30.

    There is another way, under the Representation of the People Act 1981 doesn't he just have to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment carrying a sentence of more than 12 months?
    The big question would be is there *anything* in Adam's past that could possibly carry such a term of imprisonment?

  • Comment number 31.

    Fair play to Gerry for applying for Irish citizenship although there is a significant number of people in the Republic of Ireland who wish he would stay North of the Border. My view is that Gerry has obtained more than enough money and priveleges from the Crown he abhors, so give him an escort to the border and bid him farewell and good riddance.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    "17. At 7:33pm on 24 Jan 2011, oldyorky wrote:
    Surely the point is that if he 'technically' remains a Westminster MP then West Belfast will have no parliamentary representation for the next four years."

    It's technically not had any as long as Sinn Fein have been elected, as no Sinn Fein MP has sat in the house of commons. Adams has NEVER taken the oath and has never been in the House of Commons.

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick - very true. I should have phrased it - there can be no by-election.

    This does, of course, eliminate the embarrassment of possibly losing the seat.

  • Comment number 35.

    You know, I am not a fan of Gerry Adams or his cohorts but it is a disgrace that he was unable to take his seat at Westminster despite being elected to do so. Why should someone who deplores the monarchy and all it stands for have to leave his constituents without representation just because he will not swear alegiance to the Queen. Parliament is a sovereign institution and it is to it that alegiance should be given not an unlected monarch.

    It's one thing to have all the flummery and pomp but another to have democracy itself undermined by archaic and banal rules. ~And as to an MP not being able to resign without becoming Lord of the Rings or whatever, well that is just mocking us all.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    ..the British Constitution has been changed for ever...

    its time all that role gaming stuff was done away with altogether. we need a national oath and a national anthem not some role gamers play acting apartheid nonsense.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can't believe they allowed him to stand for MP in the first place. There oughta be a system whereby if someone doesn't take their seat after a certain amount of time, they are automatically disqualified; that would stop the nonsense of refusing to swear allegiance.
    If you don't want to be part of the system, don't join it in the first place.

  • Comment number 39.

    maxmerit, I am quite sure Gerry Adams already is an Irish citizen, if you live in Northern Ireland you can claim dual citizenship if you want, so you can have an Irish and a British passport, or one or the other, and unsurprisingly a lot of people just south of the border are Sinn Fein voters, the seat Adams is contesting is already held by Sinn Fein, and another thing, Gerry Adams spent 3 years interned in a British prison without being convicted of any crime I doubt he will consider this a privilege from the crown. The fact is he embarrasses England's dignity if it has any at all every time he wins a seat for its joke of a parliament, and he wins the seat by 20,000 votes.

  • Comment number 40.

    maxmerit is a tad uninformed when saying Mr Adams is "applying for Irish citizenship". Mr Adams is an Irish citizen as of right, having been born on the island of Ireland, which is in accordance with the Irish Citizenship Act 1956, the Belfast Agreement 1999 and the Irish Constitution.

  • Comment number 41.

    @crazyislander: Adams does not refuse to sit in the Commons because of the oath of allegiance (or, at least, not solely because of the oath). In his word, "... the issue for us is the claim of that parliament to
    jurisdiction in Ireland."

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp2000/rp00-017.pdf

  • Comment number 42.

    35. At 8:40pm on 24 Jan 2011, crazyislander wrote:
    You know, I am not a fan of Gerry Adams or his cohorts but it is a disgrace that he was unable to take his seat at Westminster despite being elected to do so. Why should someone who deplores the monarchy and all it stands for have to leave his constituents without representation just because he will not swear alegiance to the Queen. Parliament is a sovereign institution and it is to it that alegiance should be given not an unlected monarch.

    It's one thing to have all the flummery and pomp but another to have democracy itself undermined by archaic and banal rules. ~And as to an MP not being able to resign without becoming Lord of the Rings or whatever, well that is just mocking us all.

    .....

    I think fact the Adams is even ABLE to get elected in just mocking us all - his empty "apologies" after children out shopping, were blown up by the IRA's bomb in a litter bin haven't been forgotten!

  • Comment number 43.

    "...they claim only those expenses directly related to the cost of staffing and running their London and constituency offices"

    If he hasn't taken his seat in the Commons what's he doing in London...on expenses, not doing his job? Why has he got a constituency office when he can't make representations on behalf of any of his constituents because he hasn't taken the oath of the representatives in the Commons to respect the rule of Law...seems to be money for nothing. The unemployed in Belfast may well envy his lifestyle. A few speeches but nothing practical to do (on principle, of course) and no bills he can't pay. You can fool some of the people all of the time...

  • Comment number 44.

    Update at 2100: This is a pathetic non-story even by Crick standards. Try reporting some news, BBC...

  • Comment number 45.

    It seems to me that the oath of allegiance is to this country's head of state, not to the queen herself or the monarchy as such, so I see no reason to change it personally. If people don't feel able to swear it they shouldn't stand for parliament.

  • Comment number 46.

    Mr Adams must do what his conscience guides him. However, wouldn't it be better if he just stepped back from public life. Wherever he goes, or whatever he says, just seems to cause more controversy, without solving any probems.

  • Comment number 47.

    Most people on here have shown their contempt for the ancient rules which govern how we allow ourseves to be ruled
    It's obviouasly time to change and change should happen now before the English become even more furious than they are now. Some very angry feelings are simmering and may not be far from exploding

  • Comment number 48.

    @crazyislander The oath is a distraction. Sinn Féin refuse to recognise the legitimacy of Westminster to govern any part of Ireland and will not take their seats, regardless of oathes.

    They used to take the same approach to the Oireachtas (the name used in English - see its website - but let's not get sidetracked) arguing a partitionist parliament was equally illegitimate but that principle was dropped some years back.

  • Comment number 49.

    As per Bunreacht na hÉireann, the official and only name of the national parliament is the Oireachtas, no matter what language we are speaking in.

  • Comment number 50.

    43, Adams lives an enclosed lifestyle visible to few, he is watched by bodyguards 24/7 and his house is like Fort Knox for his own protection, his salary is minimal around 25,000 per year as with all the Sinn Fein MP's, he works for the people, he lives among the unemployed in Belfast, he still lives in the same area where he grew up, he stood alongside the civil rights marchers in the early days, he was beaten and tortured by the forces of the crown, he is an ambassador for Irish freedom and the working class people the British have oppressed on the Island for the past 800 years. You say he cant make representations on behalf of his constituents, well the simple fact is they do not want to be represented in an English parliament, but they want to be seen, and they want to be heard and they want to make their presence felt, but they want to do this through their own civil and human rights and they want to do it in their own country not in England. So to say he does nothing practical it is an insult, after leading a population of oppressed Irish men and women through the longest war the British have ever fought.

  • Comment number 51.

    Will the dimwits at Westminster still carry on paying Adams a salary and expenses just because he hasn't complied with the rules which he has never complied with in the past?

  • Comment number 52.

    this is the issue I dnt think 'mainland' british citizens can comprehend!

    Sinn Feins primary aim is to bring about irish unity and the only way of doing that is to limit british presence in Ireland....so if he and his party members can stand for MP seats and win then that stops a unionist MP winning the seats.

    and of course they are not going to sit in what they see as a foreign government and swear an oath to a foreign queen....if part of england was ruled by an unwanted government would british citizens reading this sit in that governments parliament and swear an oath to their head of state....I think not.

    and why are all british on here defending his position as an MP...I would have thought this man would be seen at the face of the IRA to many british and would be happy to see him leave the MP list?

    as an irish republican and MP ''to make Member who wishes to retire accepts office under the Crown'' would be an utter insult to irish history.

    The people of West Belfast have elected him for years to make this point to the british government and british people, that they see their presence in Ireland as unwanted.

  • Comment number 53.

    He's fallen between two stools - can we just leave him there?

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    47. At 9:12pm on 24 Jan 2011, Deb wrote:
    "It's obviouasly time to change and change should happen now before the English become even more furious than they are now. Some very angry feelings are simmering and may not be far from exploding"

    I have being saying that very thing for some time now.
    I'm voting for the SNP in Scotland in may. I know that may be a bone of contention to other commentators on here, but if you think about it, It's the only real way of driving change in the UK. In England your hands are tied, All you've got is Tory or labour, we've just had labour and now the cycle begins again with the Tories. Labour-Tory, they're both part of the same construct and same system.

    To get change, we need to look at what is perceived as unpopular by the extensions of Westminster, the powerful traditionalists that infiltrate or lives daily in the media. Government and media go hand in glove together. Don't always believe what you read-hear and watch. Be suspicious and question the Information that's being thrown at you!
    (Don't think the beeb is as clean cut as it wants you to think)

  • Comment number 56.

    Another way of looking at it... It's a credit to our democracy that those who criticise the State, even oppose it and may be considered enemies of it are able to be elected (yes, remember Adams was elected) to it's parliament. Who decides otherwise whether someone is a fit person to represent a constituency? Take that power from constituents at your peril.

    As for the mechanism by which Adams resigns, perhaps it is about time for parliamentary rules to be updated. The coalition is planning to introduce the power of recall, so that constituents can force a by-election if their MP has acted improperly. An ideal time to change the way MPs resign and cause by-elections.

  • Comment number 57.

    Gerry Adams has always been an Irish Citizen, those North of the frontier have as much entitlement to an Irish passport as the people of the rest of Ireland. Not only do I believe that Adams will be elected to the Dail, I would not be surprised if he topped the poll in the Louth constiuency which from this year is a five-seater.

  • Comment number 58.

    "Dear Mr Secratary: I hereby resign the Office of the President of the United States of America, Richard M Nixon."

    He did not apply for the position as the Chief Engine Driver of the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

  • Comment number 59.

    After extensive research I have discovered the Nixon may have spelled Secretary correctly.

  • Comment number 60.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!

    My, but he looks a wally now. As if he didn't look stupid enough already by refusing to actually represent the people who voted for him to represent them, now he can't resign without recognising the crown!

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    "And the British Constitution has been changed for ever"

    What "British Consitution"?

    Last time I looked, we were one of only five countries that didn't have a formal constitution.

  • Comment number 62.

    "Update at 2100: This is a pathetic non-story even by Crick standards. Try reporting some news, BBC... "

    Quite. But the fact remains that Gerry Adams is still an MP even though he might not think he is. That alone is newsworthy, regardless of how archaic the mechanism is.

    I'm inclined to think that simply deleting the requirement for MPs to apply for an office of profit under the Crown in lieu of resigning might be tricky. Our parliamentary system rarely admits such keyhole surgery without ramifications.

  • Comment number 63.

    What is really ironic is that Gerry Addams is trying to win a seat in the Dial just as the Republic gives up its independence to their creditors in the EU (including Great Britain) with the passing of the budget. Ireland will no longer have monetary or budgetary control of their affairs, and, without that, their independence is a sham. Their economy is contracting, living standards are falling and emigration is rising, with little prospects of improvement.

    As the Irish Times described it after the bailout, their future "now depends on the kindness of others", an admission that the Republic no longer controls their own destiny.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    MichaelMcL
    But thats all Nixon had to do to resign. He followed the correct procedure.

    By the way, should Mr Adams manage to resign his seat - who would move the writ? Normally it is your party coleagues!

    Actually, what I can see happening is that nothing will happen until the next general election. The electors of West Belfast wont know any different, would they?

  • Comment number 66.

    Can you sit as an MP as a non-British or Commonwealth citizen? Surely by relinquishing his British citizenship he would effectively resign his post.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    45

    the oath is to the monarchs position as head of state. its against treason laws to even suggest that anyone else could be head of state. so the oath is related to the monarch not head of state.

  • Comment number 70.

    5. stanilic
    "how come it is former terrorists"

    Terrorist is a word with no proper definition. Here is one from Wikipedia: Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. This definition sums up the role of the British army in Ireland, not just over the last 40 years, but over hundreds of years. Always remember, one man's terrorist is another man's hero!!!

    16. Pte_Sector
    "And the IRA took free speech permanently from its many victims"

    As did the British government and its soldiers!!!

    31. maxmerit
    "Fair play to Gerry for applying for Irish citizenship"

    Anyone born on the island of Ireland is an Irish citizen, until they choose to be British!!!

    38. oh_lordy_lordy
    "If you don't want to be part of the system, don't join it in the first place"

    Gerry Adams is elected by the people of West Belfast on an abstractionist ticket. They don't want to be part of the British parliamentary system. They have the voice; their voice is Gerry Adams. Obviously, by the posts here, it is an effective tool in showing discontent with the political status of the North of Ireland. Irish nationalists don't want to be ruled by a government that continues to plunder the entire globe!!!

    42. W Fletcher
    "the IRA's bomb"

    I think, having lived through it, that the most recent conflict in Ireland had many combatants. Some were British state paramilitary, such as the Paratroop regiment and the SAS. Some were illegal state militias, armed by the British state, and used as a tool of subversion; a counter insurgency if you like. All of these state forces murdered children using guns and bombs. That is part of the problem within these islands, most British people will not accept that their government and its army were up to their eyes in state sponsored terrorism!!!

  • Comment number 71.

    ireland was occupied under the norman monarchy model. the whole of the uk is still under occupation.

  • Comment number 72.

    My copy of the British Constitution clearly states on page 193, paragraph 16, subsection 5 point c):

    "Any MP can do what they like as long as they get away with it"

  • Comment number 73.

    63. busby2
    "Ireland will no longer have monetary or budgetary control of their affairs"

    You will agree that this statement refers to both durisdictions on the island of Ireland? The North of Ireland has been bailed out every year since its inception. Somewhere around 60% of emloyment is in the public sector. The partitioning of Ireland has led to economic instability for the people on the entire island. With the Tory cuts soon to strike, N'Ireland's public sector job losses will have detrimental effects all over the island.

    It is time for unionists to give up the ghost. This part of Ireland, the North, was once the biggest manufacturing hub in the world. Now it is feeding off the crumbs that fall from the Westminster dinner table!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    "All rather embarrassing for the world's leading Irish Republican."

    Oh, there's worldwide competition for the title of "world's leading Irish Republican"? Yes, I forgot about the French Irish Republicans. The Somalian Irish Republicans. And the Eskimo Irish Republicans.

    Pure journalistic story-hyping.

  • Comment number 75.

    I was under the impression Westminster doesn't pay Adams a salary.

    They incur some expenses to run offices and accommodation in London, as they do represent their constituents by meetings with the Prime Minister and so forth.

    I think the comments saying he doesn't represent his constituents as libellous and very ignorant.

    He's voted in with highest majority of any politician on the island of Ireland for over 20 years. He must be doing something right. I for one support his stance of abstention. Why should any Irish man swear an oath to a foreign Queen, this is the 21st century for crying out loud.

    He's got a lot for the people of West Belfast and Northern Ireland from direct negotiations with the Prime Minister and Taoiseach. And thus ends the career of Gerry Adams in the north of Ireland on a high.

    I think he will be elected in Louth for the Irish Parliament [Dáil Éireann], and good luck to him.

  • Comment number 76.

    74. Isaac
    "I forgot about the French Irish Republicans. The Somalian Irish Republicans. And the Eskimo Irish Republicans"

    There is an old saying: There are two things you will find in every country in the world - A Volkswagon Beetle and an Irish man.

    Because of many factors, mostly the British oppression of the Irish, the people of Ireland have been displaced; forced out by coercion and suppression. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Irish people the world over. In American cities; in Australian offshore oil rigs; all over the globe. Irish republicans the world over give support to Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein.

  • Comment number 77.

    non story. what a crick.

  • Comment number 78.


    DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    "Now it (NI) is feeding off the crumbs that fall from the Westminster dinner table!!!"

    Whilst the ROI feeds off hand-outs from the EU of which one of the largest net contributors is the UK and looks set to play a major part in the destruction of the EuroZone.

    Way to go.

  • Comment number 79.

    For most MPs taking a position under the Crown in order to resign probably isn't a big deal, a harmless tradition.However for a Republican it really would be quite an insult. I am no Gerry Adams fan but if he has found a way round this then good luck to him.

  • Comment number 80.

    Well some of my ancestors were Ulster protestants and others Hebridean gaelic speaking protestants ......and they seem never to have had a chance to mix with catholics...they were seperately educated and the Labour Party wasn`t allowed to operate in Ulster...in fact there are two nations living side by side kept apart by sectarian gangs. How is that going to get resolved?

    Surely there`s no incentive for the sectarian bullies to give up this apartheid system....because it`s their powerbase. If you all start to get on together who needs their dubious "protection"?

  • Comment number 81.

    78. mrichar2
    "Whilst the ROI feeds off hand-outs"

    Given the fact that the life blood has been sucked out of Ireland by the British for hundreds of years, it's about time the Irish were given something back. It should be a gift and not a loan.

  • Comment number 82.

    DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    " It should be a gift and not a loan."

    Or is the ROI merely feeding off the crumbs that fall from the Westminster dinner table!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    82. mrichar2

    Bram Stoker fashioned Dracula on the British Empire. He used the novel to highlight the effect that the Empire had on those oppressed by it. Dracula sucked the life blood from his victims and turned them into an image of himself, while he had full control over them.

    The British government spend £40 million per week on illegally occupying foreign countries. If this was to end, the recession worldwide would be eased. Maybe you should take a look in your own backyard, before peeking over the fence and criticising your neighbour's backyard.

  • Comment number 84.

    astaines wrote:

    I've always greatly admired the sense of tradition in your country, even if some of the traditions might not be recognised by their original progenitors, however I sometime fear that you find it hard to separate the quaint (beloved of tourists), from the merely daft, which impede your progress.

    ###########

    Oh, the stuff of our state is neither quaint nor daft.

    They are the things that tie the process up so securely in knots that it is only democracy that can survive.

    Those of us who care keep these things because they really upset the anarchists, the republicans and the general moaners - and that is so fun to watch!

  • Comment number 85.

    82. mrichar2

    Might I also add that British banks have £149 billion invested in Irish banks. The Brits are looking after their own interests. Do you think they shouldn't give support to an economy which they are heavily invested in???

  • Comment number 86.

    DisgustedinDERRY

    What you conveniently forget is that if irish republicanism was so wonderful, why did the IRA need to conduct a vicious sectarian war on your fellow working class citizens in Northern Ireland? What sort of "unified Ireland" could you possibly create by terrorism, except on the bones of your fellow citizens? How could that be a worthwhile objective?

    Tell me, what does a united ireland offer the Ulster Protestant unionists that would make them support such a unified state? And don't forget there are also catholics who would not vote for a united Ireland as it currently stands!

    The demands of the Irish Civil Rights movement were all met by the mid 1970s but the Provisional IRA continued on their path of sectarian warfare designed at all times to promote retaliation in the interest of their "cause". The Official IRA had declared a ceasefire in the early 1970s because they had no wish to be a part of a sectarian war against NI Protestants. How many lives were killed in the vicious and futile sectarian campaign by the Provisional IRA before Gerry and his supporters eventually realised they could not bomb the North into a so called "united Ireland". It took them 25 years from the mid 1970s. And what is more when they stopped their killing, so did the protestant UDF and UDA, showing that their campaign was in retaliation for Provisional atrocities on the Protestant NI community.

    A major reason why NI has received so much Govt assistance in the last 40 years has been the provisional IRA campaign and its aftermath. The crunch and govt cut backs will hit NI as it does the rest of the UK but the economy of the North has also benefitted from not being in the Euro as the Irish from the South are now able to flock to the North to buy at significantly cheaper prices.

    The fact that NI has cost and continues to cost the British taxpayer every year is an indication that we are not there to oppress the people of NI and exploit them as a colonial power! We are there because the majority of people in the North want to remain part of the UK and we will remain there as long as it is their wish.

    So to return to the theme of my first paragraph, NI will always remain British until Republicans can show them by peaceful means that a united ireland offers them far more than being part of the UK. Given the economic state of the Republic, it seems far more likely that the South would want to rejoin the UK rather than the North vote to join the South!

  • Comment number 87.

    DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    "Bram Stoker fashioned Dracula on the British Empire. He used the novel to highlight the effect that the Empire had on those oppressed by it. Dracula sucked the life blood from his victims and turned them into an image of himself, while he had full control over them."

    Is this relevant?

    A horror story published in 1897 is used to justify your call to the Unionists to "give up the ghost" due to recession caused by the by the Global Banking/Financial crisis.

    Is there even a tentative link?

    That seems to be your problem. You continual diatribe is based upon a past era and your words are like some less than funny caricature of what we've heard from major protagonists on the Republican side in what was, gladly, another past era which has gone forever.

  • Comment number 88.

    I would have thought some piece of modern law would trump the archaic parliamentary law, if nothing else, then I am sure one could make an argument under the Human Rights Act.

    In any event, it is very important that everyone acts like grown ups over an issue like this, anyone getting on their high horse and trying to lay down bureaucratic hurdles which they childishly try and demand Adams complies with will just be playing into the hands of Sinn Fein, who will in turn take great pleasure in sticking two fingers up to parliament and there is nothing that Westminster will be able to do about, much to the delight of Gerry Adams and his party.

  • Comment number 89.

    All is not lost. There are some other posts that carry automatic disqualification from the Commons. And one of them may have some vacancies going soon. So how about appointing Adams as a Director of Northern Ireland Water Limited?

  • Comment number 90.

    to justin as much as i dont agree with the sinn fein sell out stance on the 32 county republic i know gerry adams will top the poll in louth come election time with enough votes that will shock dail in dublin.

  • Comment number 91.

    Busby2 speaks nonsense, I live just north of the frontier and find some things in the Republic cheaper, I still buy petrol there and just today picked up some superb bottles of wine in Monaghan of a much better quality for the price than you'd get in Sainsburys. Retrospective reflecting on the Troubles is a pointless debate; as many people are still dumbfounded by the carry-on of the British state as they are by the Provisionals. Incidentally the question of Irish re-unification will be a matter for the Irish people (of all religions) and no one else.

  • Comment number 92.

    It is common for many of Gerry Adams constituents in West Belfast to approach other MP,s in Belfast such as the SDLPs Alisdair McDonnell or Naomi Long of Alliance for representation. This situation is replicated in other constituenties across the province where the sitting MP is Sinn Fein. A minor drawback for an abstentionist policy.

  • Comment number 93.

    Re. DisgustedinDERRY (various posts)

    Seriously dude. There are rights and wrongs on both sides with regards to the NI conflict. You can quote lines back in your posts if you like but it only makes you look like someone who is trying to fill out their post with other people's words because you can't think of your own. And when you do think of your own words you spout off (what I consider to be) a load of IRA propaganda in an attempt to make the English people directly responsible for something that in your own words started 750 years before the majority of the English were born. As someone directly affected by the bombing of the British mainland by the IRA (a terrorist group funded and armed by the biggest international aggressor since the "hated" British Empire 250 years ago), I find your comments not only dull-witted and inaccurate, but also incredibly offensive too. If you truly believe the British to be such a vile race of invaders then why do you read their main news website?

    The other point I would like to make before I log off and completely forget about your mundane existence is this: if you genuinely believe that the Irish economic problems stem directly from being invaded [incidentally Ireland was first invaded by the Normans (who were of Viking stock but lived in France) and then by the Scots (who most definitely would rather you did not associate them with the English) and were not in fact subjected to a full-time English king until Henry VIII in 1536 (575 years ago, rather than your proposed 800)] then you are in need of more educational help than I had originally thought. The Irish are in trouble because they thought it would be a fantastic idea to join a European currency that, while being a nice idea in theory, would inevitably drag each contributing country down the moment the bottom fell out of the market. I hope you find solace in the true and certain knowledge that Eire is now more in debt to the British taxpayer than it can possibly ever repay, and therefore you will be inextricably linked to us for many years to come. Trust me on this - we don't like it any more than you do.

    If you've had any problems with the long words in my post then please feel free to consult a dictionary. I won't be waiting for your reply in any case.

  • Comment number 94.

    Many of us lived through it Mr Flecher !
    We can all claim discrimination & wrongs my friend !!

    Your Comment;
    "most British people will not accept that their government and its army were up to their eyes in state sponsored terrorism!!!"

    Are you familure with (Irish Police) Guarda/Republican terrorist collusion ?
    Yes ? No ? or are you just trying to score points ?

    Ireland ?
    who is right who is wrong ? who has the right to exist or belong ?
    Im afraid sir, there is no clear answer to those quesions anymore both sides have positives & negatives for & against,but what i must challenge you on is your one sided claim of a violent injustice, open your eyes sir !.

    The point is Adams & his position as an MP, i say he does what hes told, infact he has no choice , hes still in and thats that , after such murderous , inhumane atrocities (under him and his fellow republican associates instruction)against our people like Hyde Park, Birmingham, Manchester, Harrods, Omagh, Warrenpoint, Shankill, La Mon , Droping Well, Teebane, Guildford etc etc etc & sadly etc! the guy should never have been allowed to stand as an MP in the first place IN OUR COUTRY !

    People can argue all night long (infact they have) about who is right & who has the rights in Northern Ireland but Murder is Murder is Murder a great former Prime Minister once told us its a pitty too many people look at human life so cheaply !!


    We Don't ALL Forget !

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    70 DisgustedinDOIRE

    I used the term `former terrorist' as a counterpoint to emphasise the disgusting behaviour of the police in Britain.

    I thought you would have understood that as it has happened down your street in the past. It is happening down other streets now.

  • Comment number 97.

    91. At 01:33am on 25 Jan 2011, Johner wrote:
    Busby2 speaks nonsense, I live just north of the frontier and find some things in the Republic cheaper, I still buy petrol there and just today picked up some superb bottles of wine in Monaghan of a much better quality for the price than you'd get in Sainsburys.


    It is well known that we tax petrol and alcohol higher than just about anywhere else in the EU, so it is no surprise that these items are cheaper in the Republic.

    However the fact is that the VAT rate in the ROI is going up to 23% and that it is charged on a wider range of goods than in the UK. Sterling has also devalued in relation to the Euro in the last couple of years which also makes British prices far cheaper than in the ROI. That is why we read reports of southern Irish flocking over the now peaceful border to shop in the North. Equally those in the North go south to buy petrol. I welcome this peace dividend, don't you?

    Retrospective reflecting on the Troubles is a pointless debate

    Don't blame me! It isn't just the Troubles. It is an Irish pastime to bring up wrongs over hundreds of years to argue a point, as DisgustedinDerry showed all too clearly in his posts.

    Incidentally the question of Irish re-unification will be a matter for the Irish people (of all religions) and no one else.

    I said much the same. We are not keeping the North as part of the UK against their will.

    The problem with religion in Ireland is that the Reformation and Counter Reformation is still a continuing battle long since settled elsewhere. I greatly regret that the Irish alone of all the people of Northern Europe did not welcome the reformation. Ireland has remained trapped in the past as a result.


  • Comment number 98.

    @JayPL who wrote "well the simple fact is they do not want to be represented in an English parliament,"

    There is no English Parliament. There is a British Parliament, a Scottish Parliament, and Welsh and N. Irish Assemblies. England is the only country in the EU, indeed the democratic West that does not have its own directly elected parliament or assembly.

    There are many millions of English people who want an English Parliament. Indeed the BBC had a poll showing 61% of English people wanted an English Parliament (then to its shame the BBC buried all debate about it). In fact there are many of us English who would prefer independence from the rest of the UK.

    However, the English are the only ones who are never asked. We have waited in vain for N. Irish, Scots and Welsh to vote for independence. They have all choked it. It is now our turn to vote methinks.

  • Comment number 99.

    So, the rule was written in 1624, when indeed the House of Commons was in the English Parliament (not the British Parliament) and once again an English institution has been undermined by the British, just as the British undermined the ancient English office of state, The Lord Chancellor.

    I'm English not British. The deadliest enemies of the English are the British.

  • Comment number 100.

    So, Gerry thinks he is no longer MP for West Belfast.
    However,as an election apparently can't be held until Gerry formally resigns in accordance with the procedures of the British Parliament, who in the meantime and in the future is going to represent his former constituents?

 

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