Barry McElduff to be appointed to 'paid position of Crown' to relinquish West Tyrone seat
Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff will have to officially be appointed to a 'paid position of the Crown' in order to properly relinquish his seat in the House of Commons.
The MP announced his resignation on Monday following the controversy surrounding his tweet on the anniversary of the Kingsmill anniversary.
In a ruling dating back to 1624, an MP can only vacate their seat during the lifetime of a parliament through death; expulsion by resolution of the House; or disqualification, either by the voiding of the Member’s election or through accepting one of a number of offices which are incompatible with membership of the House of Commons.
- Michelle O'Neill: Barry McElduff a champion for West Tyrone, Sinn Fein sanction proportionate and O Muilleoir issue dealt with
Like his colleagues Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness before him, Mr McElduff will be appointed to a 'paid position of the Crown' to disqualify him from Parliament. That will either be the Crown Steward & Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds or the Crown Steward & Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. Each position is issued on an alternate basis and the position is no longer salaried and has no actual responsibilities.
A House of Commons spokesman explained: "As an MP cannot directly 'resign' their seat, they have to be appointed to a paid office of the Crown, which automatically disqualifies the Member from holding a seat in the House of Commons.
"Mr McElduff would therefore be appointed to the position of Crown Steward & Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, as happened with Gerry Adams in 2011 and Martin McGuinness in 2013. Although they were both appointed to the other position, Crown Steward & Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead)."
"This appointment will be announced in due course by Mr Speaker, although as yet we cannot confirm when this will take place.
"In previous instances of a Sinn Fein MP resigning, the writ for a new by-election was moved by the Leader of the House. Again, as yet, we cannot say when this will take place."
Ordinarily it would be for the party's chief whip to issue a writ for the by-election to replace the outgoing MP, but as Sinn Fein members don't take their seats, there would be no-one to make the necessary arrangements.
Barry McElduff in the 2017 General Election was voted into office with over 22,000, over half those that voted. His nearest rival was the DUP's Thomas Buchanan who polled 11,718 votes. Almost 68% of the electorate turned out for the vote.
He was forced to resign after posing with a loaf of bread and posting a video on Twitter of it on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre. Mr McElduff said his intention was never to cause hurt to anyone and he insisted he drew no link to the date and the sectarian killing of 10 workmen in an ambush by the IRA.
Belfast Telegraph Digital