Approval has been given for a Westminster by-election in West Belfast after Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams quit to run for the Dail.
Mr Adams, who never took his seat in the Commons because he refused to swear allegiance to the Queen, formally took steps towards standing down from Parliament when he stood to become a TD in Louth.
Mr Adams won the West Belfast seat for Sinn Fein with a 71% majority at the 2010 General Election.
Government chief whip Patrick McLoughlin yesterday asked for permission to hold a by-election for the now vacant seat.
Mr McLoughlin said: “Gerry Adams, since his election, has been appointed to the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of Her Majesty's Manor for Northstead in the County of York.”
The position is a procedural device for MPs to leave their seats.
MPs approved the motion without a vote meaning a timetable will now be set for the by-election.