At lunchtime, Sinn Fein announced their timetable to end double jobbing at Westminster and the Assembly. The BBC explain:
The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is to resign as MP for Mid Ulster to concentrate on his job at Stormont.
Sinn Fein’s four other MPs are to resign from their assembly seats as the party seeks to end ‘double-jobbing’. Party president Gerry Adams said this would avoid triggering a string of Westminster by-elections.
So a Mid Ulster by-election expected in the Autumn, and the party will co-opt Assembly replacements for:
- Pat Doherty (West Tyrone, since 2001)
- Conor Murphy (Newry & Armagh, since 2005)
- Michelle Gildernew (Fermanagh & South Tyrone, since 2001)
- Paul Maskey (West Belfast, since 2011)
The financial benefit to the party – an extra £13k for each member who stops double jobbing – might be offset by having to pay some new people an “average industrial wage”, unless existing party workers are chosen.
Over time it will be interesting to see how the party uses its extra bandwidth. Better constituency services? A lot more lobbying in London? Or even a gradual move to taking their seats and representing their constituents within the House of Commons chamber as well as in the corridors around it? [Ed – steady ….]
That’ll leave the SDLP and the DUP double jobbing at Westminster and the Assembly.
Adds … And as London Irish notes below, while we’re noting those heading towards the revolving door, Martina Anderson is also in the process of shifting from from Stormont to Brussels/Strasbourg.