Belfast Telegraph

Barry McElduff to be appointed to 'paid position of Crown' to relinquish West Tyrone seat

By Jonathan Bell

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.

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.

Families of murdered workmen attend an evening service in 1976 as six coffins of IRA victims are brought to church in Bessbrook the night before the funerals of those killed in the Provisional IRA's infamous sectarian Whitecross (Kingsmill) Massacre. The IRA lined up the occupants of a workers minibus carrying 11 protestants and one catholic, before releasing the catholic man and mowing down the 10 protestant workmen, leaving the critically injured Mr Alan Black for dead. Alan Lewis Photopress
Families of murdered workmen attend an evening service in 1976 as six coffins of IRA victims are brought to church in Bessbrook the night before the funerals of those killed in the Provisional IRA's infamous sectarian Whitecross (Kingsmill) Massacre. The IRA lined up the occupants of a workers minibus carrying 11 protestants and one catholic, before releasing the catholic man and mowing down the 10 protestant workmen, leaving the critically injured Mr Alan Black for dead. Alan Lewis Photopress
The victims of the Kingsmill massacre (clockwise from top left): Robert Chambers; John Bryans; Joseph Lemmon; James McWhirter; Robert Freeburn; Robert Walker; Reginald Chapman; Kenneth Worton; John McConville and Walter Chapman
Kimgsmill massacre aftermath
Walter Chapman
John McConville
Kenneth Worton
Reginald Chapman
Robert Walker
Robert Freeburn
James McWhirter
Joseph Lemmon
John Bryans
Robert Chambers
The funeral service for five victims of the Kingsmills massacre at the Presbyterian church grounds in Bessbrook
Alan Black was shot 18 times but survived the Kingsmills massacre
Alan Black in hospital after the IRA shot him and killed 10 of his colleagues at Kingsmills
Alan Black:Survivor of the Kingsmill, Armagh, Massacre/Shooting, when he was shot with his 10 workmates in an ambushon their way home from work by gunmen. Pictured at the Kingsmill Memorial monument. 4/1/1981
A man lays a wreath at the Kingsmill memorial in South Armagh (PA)
People attend a roadside service marking the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre (Brian Lawless/PA)
Karen Armstrong holds a photograph of her brother John McConville, who was killed in the Kingsmill attack
Sisters Cathy Michale, Colleen McKenna and Eileen Reavey unveil the monument to commemorate their brothers in Whitecross, Armagh
The crowd assembled at the service of remembrance for the victims held at the Town Hall in Bessbrook yesterday to mark the 40th anniversary of the atrocity

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