The motions to reinstate the allowances, and according to Labour MP Andrew McKinlay, create a new category of allowances, for Sinn Féin MPs will be debated today in the Commons. UTV has a good round-up, including the comments of SF’s Conor Murphy describing the sanctions as undemocratic.. seemingly forgetting that the removal of those allowances was debated, and voted on, before being applied, and that SF subsequently challenged the IMC recommendations in court, and lost.. a route they are taking again. The BBC on the other hand, use comments from Tory MP David Liddington and create a position for him.. that he doesn’t seem to be taking. UpdatedHere’s what the BBC report currently opens with –
MPs oath ‘should be re-examined’
The oath of loyalty to the Queen should be re-examined if it meant Sinn Fein would take their Commons seats, the Conservative NI spokesman has said.
David Lidington made the comments before a debate on proposals to restore Sinn Fein’s Westminster allowances.
Mr Lidington said a general commitment to uphold the law and democratic politics could be considered as an alternative to the compulsory oath.
but the actual quotes they provide state his position somewhat differently –
“If Sinn Fein said it was the wording of the oath that was the sole obstacle, then I think that it’s something any government would have to be willing to re-examine,” Mr Lidington said.
“But at the moment Sinn Fein are taking a very firm line and saying it’s not the wording of the oath, it goes far beyond that.”
Perhaps they have some other quotes in mind? Or am I being overly pedantic?.. it wouldn’t be the first time..
Update An interesting line of argument from Tony Blair at PMQs today, as reported here –
“They [the IMC] also go on to recommend specifically the lifting of the financial sanctions imposed against Sinn Fein.
“Now, these were imposed in March 2005 after a previous IMC report.
“This is an IMC report saying it is right now to lift those.
“That`s why we are acting as we are.”
Except, Secretary of State Peter Hain announced the move on the back of the previous IMC report[the 7th, published in October 2005], and is backdating the allowances to that time.. and that IMC Report recommended not lifting the sanctions.