Sinn Fein should not be allowed to escape the ban on double mandates

I’m a child in these matters compared to Slugger hawks but am I alone in thinking that Sinn Fein have got away with it over double jobbing? With all the emphasis on the gravy train that I truly believe would have destroyed parties in GB, all the NI parties have been in a conspiracy to engineer a soft landing for themselves. The train may have slowed already but they still enjoy a big splash of jus . For Westminster they’ll still be able to employ one relative and as things stand before an independent regulator is appointed, there’s no bar on dynasties at Stormont, right?

It goes flat against what the chairman on Standards in Public Life Sir Chris Kelly recommended

Recommendation 40 x
The practice of permitting a Westminster MP simultaneously to sit in a devolved legislature
should be brought to an end, ideally by the time of the elections to the three devolved
legislatures scheduled for May 2011


But NI parties were allowed to extend this to 2015 – to avoid upsetting the Stormont applecart. Peter Robinson will make an exception of himself and retain his double mandate, but I presume Margaret Ritchie will resign if she takes south Down, Reg would resign as a minister and how will Sammy cope? But there’s no sign of an end to the Sinn Fein baronial tradition. Even though they don’t take their Westminster seats, they’ll qualify for the reduced scale of Westminster expenses. Their Stormont salaries and expenses are unaffected, am I right?

But this a matter beyond expenses, it’s about democracy. Money aside, is a double or treble mandate democratically appropriate? It seems nothing can be done to prevent SF multi mandates while sanctions are tied to money and it’s left to parties to decide for themelves. A legal bar on sitting in one than one chamber would be a significant constitutional move but not an unknown one. It now applies to the European Parliament and will apply to Lords and Commons whenever elections are introduced for the Upper House. This incidentally will provide NI parties with yet another Chamber to be elected to. The radical move of a bar on election to more than one elected body is one which Westminster in the dying hours of this Parliament had no stomach for, although the Tories at least fired a shot across Sinn Fein’s bows.

Conservative MP Laurence Robertson said it was a move “in the right direction” but MPs should not be able to sit in devolved assemblies at all, as recommended by Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life.
“If people are physically sitting in the Northern Ireland Assembly then they can’t be physically sitting here,” he said.

  • Cynic2

    Haven’t the Tories said that when they take power they will immediately stop all Westminster expenses for MPs that don’t take their seats. At the moment SF cream off over £700k a year from Westminster. That will make their eyes water. So who are the 25 ‘community workers’ who will lose their jobs as a result?

  • Henry94


    You can be fairly sure that in a tight parliament the Tories will do noting that might encourage Sinn Fein to turn up and vote.

  • Framer

    Any ban on standing for more than one parliament would be knocked out by the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg or by the NI Human Rights Commission.

  • Alan

    Actually the point of this is that we are still not in a position that recognises the current federal nature of the British state.

    We are half way up a long road that leads to a federal republic, but still clinging to the debris that used to be imperial Westminster.

    We need to have the position of devolved Ministers recognised at Westminster, by them being given right of access and a vote in the Commons Chamber.

    It is farcical, for instance, that Sammy Wilson might not be able to confront a future Government determined to cut the NI Budget. Umagine a non- MP NI Minister for Finance sitting impotently in the Strangers’ Gallery.

  • Fearglic

    Don’t the Shinners have their wages docked by the party?

  • Them r us

    Just what i was thinking fearglic they get a fixed wage an the rest goes to the party.

  • Them r us

    So thats the reason adams put a docket in for shoe polish for his mosses sandels . I heard martin claimed for hair staightners.. My opinion for what it,s worth is fair play to them screw the feckers for every penny pay back time.