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Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams rejects aristocratic Baron title

Cameron apologises as party leader embarrassed by quirk of UK protocol

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

By Edel Kennedy

It's a first for Sinn Fein: a party leader with a lengthy British title. Gerry Adams -- aka Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead -- yesterday gave up his British parliamentary seat, but in the process gained a title.

Bizarrely it's a name that was previously bequeathed to fellow Northern Ireland politicians, Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

Centuries-old parliamentary rules mean that after being "duly chosen" by the people, MPs cannot officially resign. To circumvent this, a resolution was passed in 1624 which means that those who resign have to accept a "paid office of the crown".

This was done on the assumption that the newly titled member could not be expected to scrutinise the government.

Two titles are alternated among those who resign, and the Sinn Fein leader has been passed the baton from former title-holders Boris Johnson and Peter Mandelson.

But yesterday a singularly unimpressed Mr Adams strongly denied that he had accepted the title.

Earlier Prime Minister David Cameron had announced to sniggering MPs that the staunch Republican had accepted the office for profit and become 'Baron of the Manor of Northstead'.

However, last night Mr Adams -- who is attempting to gain his first Dail seat -- said he had received an apology from Mr Cameron's office.

"This is untrue," he said in a statement. "I simply resigned. I was not consulted nor was I asked to accept such an office. I am an Irish republican. I have had no truck whatsoever with these antiquated and quite bizarre aspects of the British parliamentary system.

"I have spoken to the prime minister's private secretary today and he has apologised for today's events."

Belfast Telegraph


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