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Labour’s call over Sinn Fein Gerry Adams saga

Published 28/01/2011

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
A painting of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams which was auctioned off to help the people of Haiti
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams attends the funeral of Michaela McAreavey.
Commemoration of Bloody Sunday march in Derry. Gerry Adams and Martin Maguiness are pictured. Pacemaker Press Intl. 30/1/83.
Sinn Fein candidate Pearse Doherty celebrates with his wife Roisin, and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at the election count in Donegal
Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams side by side during a historic Stormont meeting in 2007
A political chess game: Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams and an Orangeman portrayed as pieces
Chairman Jim Dougal in a spirited exchange with SF President Gerry Adams and UUP leader Sir Reg Empey
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre.
Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew, party leader Gerry Adams (right) and Martin McGuinness MP celebrate her victory
Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes in Long Kesh
Gerry Adams takes questions from the media after a meeting with the North and West Belfast Parades Forum at Belfast City Hall

Labour has demanded a change in Parliamentary procedures to allow an MP to resign by letter following the disqualification of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams from Westminster.

The “ancient ways” that had seen Mr Adams appointed as Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead to allow him to resign had to be reformed, said shadow Commons leader Hilary Benn.

But Commons leader Sir George Young insisted: “This law on resignation from the House has served us well for 260 years and the Government has no plans to change it.”

The exchanges followed a period of confusion prior to Wednesday's ruling by Commons speaker John Bercow about the status of Mr Adams' resignation from Westminster, described as a “shambles” by Labour MP Thomas Docherty.

The speaker ruled that Mr Adams, who is standing in the Irish general election, was now disqualified from the House of Commons.

An MP can only resign by accepting one of the symbolic offices of profit of Steward or Bailiff of Her Majesty's three Chiltern Hundreds, or of the Manor of Northstead. Mr Adams refused and wrote a resignation letter to Mr Bercow.

In the Commons yesterday, Mr Benn said: “The Chancellor's power to in effect disqualify a member of this House must be exercised correctly and it does not seem that in this case long-standing precedent has been followed.”

Belfast Telegraph

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