No boys and girls you are not still MPs…

Earlier on today I was looking up old fight mates Kerry McCarthy and Nadine Twitter streams for the first time in a while, when I discovered both had changed their accounts from their names followed by MP, to 4MP. Kerry’s old account exists but in abeyance.

Ivor has spotted three of our ex MPs still tweeting as though they were still MPs: Conor Murphy, Nigel Dodds and Michelle Gildernew.

And beleive it or not that is actually against the law to describe yourself as a MP when technically you are the former MP for such and such a place until such times as you are lucky enough to get re-elected. Nice work Ivor!

  • cut the bull

    A case of, when those who make the law,break the law, then there is no law

  • Pete Baker


    Impersonating a Member of Parliament?

    They were guilty of that before dissolution…

    And, since dissolution occured on 12 April, here’s another more blatant culprit to add to the list – from a statement on the NI Executive website dated 16th April

    Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA was among the guests who attended a special event in Newcastle today to honour the All Ireland winning Down team of 1960/61, the first team from North of the border to win the Sam Maguire.

  • Pete Baker

    To quote from the 12 April parliamentary news link

    What does dissolution mean for MPs?

    When Parliament is dissolved every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant. MPs lose all the privileges associated with being a Member of Parliament.

    They are allowed access to Parliament for just a few days to remove papers and equipment from their offices. But all MPs’ services and facilities are closed at 5pm on the day of dissolution.

    Until a new Parliament is elected, MPs do not exist. Those who want to be re-elected must stand again as candidates.

  • Mark McGregor


    Snap – was looking at the same stuff. Gildernew too.


    The thing that annoys me more about all three twitter accounts and numerous others and FB profiles is their creation dates – those three 14 Jan, 2 March, 30 March. They’ll all become inactive once the election is over too. An electoral tool not a genuine engagement with social media.

  • Pete Baker


    It’s probably worth pointing out that Gildernew stopped using the MP designation in statements later on the same day [13th April] as the statement you’ve linked.

  • Henry94

    Mildly interesting but if the people elect you then you should retain the name of the office until the people speak again. That would be the republican way of looking at it. But hose who take their oath to the queen have to act accordingly when she dissolves them I suppose.

  • Pete Baker

    Try again, Henry.

    This time with reference to the legal position of would-be Members of Parliament.

    You know. The legal position Sinn Féin now endorses.

  • Pete Baker
  • Henry94

    Pete Baker

    I wasn’t talking about the legal position. I was talking about my position. If you are that exercised by the issue feel free to make a citizen’s arrest or complain to the police.

    I’m sure the resulting arrests would help Sinn Fein in the election because their voters consider it their business to elect and fire their own representatives irrespective of what the queen does.

    Ring the justice minister while you are at it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, I’ve just taken down my copy of the Bunreacht, and I think you’ll find that’s not the position of the Republic either. Article 13.2.1 uses the term ‘dissolution’. That means dissolved. No ambiguity.

  • Ulick

    The thing that annoys me more about all three twitter accounts and numerous others and FB profiles is their creation dates – those three 14 Jan, 2 March, 30 March. They’ll all become inactive once the election is over too. An electoral tool not a genuine engagement with social media.

    That remains to be seen Mark. I’ve noticed the flurry of SF activity on FB and I’ve encouraged those behind it. At the moment it seems to be a genuine to make connections and “grow networks” as Mick might say – well apart from the usual juvenile shite from Ógra who seem to have no understanding netiquette and are treating it like an extension of BeBo.

  • Keithbelfast

    Ulick, Mark. activity on fb and twitter is basically extended canvassing. it all stops after may 6th.

  • Henry94


    One of the common sights on the day the Dail is dissolved is TDs piling Oireachtas notepaper into their cars. They are TDs until they lose an election. The Dail can’t meet but the members retain their status (and pay I’m sure)

    Here’s an election poster featuring Micheal Martin TD.

  • Pete Baker


    What don’t you get?

    As Mick alludes to, once the head of state – be that Queen or President – dissolves the representative assembly of the people, that assembly no longer exists and no-one can claim to be a member.

    Sin é.

  • Mick Fealty


    You are definitely right to encourage people and I would applaud that. But this stuff doesn’t really work in the short term: it needs investment over the long term. They call it astroturfing (I’ve written about it in a piece that should be out in the Telegraph later in the week)…

    The thing will to watch those who stick at it and make something politically useful from it. Hit and runs don’t really work. Mostly because the content is not great, and the engagement with the voters is correspondingly poor.

    Lynne Featherstone is one of the best examples in Britain, and she is definitely worth looking at it, not just for what she does but the intelligent relationship she has with her readers.

  • Henry94


    It’s not like that in the Irish system. In Britain the constituencies become vacant when the monarch dissolves the Parliament. In the Irish system they don’t become vacant. They existing TDs are replaced by the newly elected. It is the TDs give power to the Parliament and not the other way around.

    Power comes up from the people and only the people can take it away. So despite the British law those of a republican outlook would consider our MPs to be still in office until we say otherwise.

  • Pete Baker


    The position in Ireland is that a TD sits for a set time period unless the President intervenes.

    In the UK setting, which Sinn Féin endorses, when the head of state dissolves parliament they no longer hold the title of Member of Parliament.

    That’s the “British law” that Sinn Féin support.

    Unless you’re now arguing that Sinn Fein don’t support the rule of law anymore?

    More equal than others, again?

  • Henry94


    I don’t speak for Sinn Fein in any way shape or form. I’m not even a member of Sinn Fein so I can’t argue that anything is their position.

    I can only tell you my view which is that elected representatives represent their voters until we dispense with their services or they stand down. So if they call themselves MPs between the dissolution and the election it’s fine by me. I’d be even happier if they called themselves TDs. However if you have a problem with it then by all means call the cops. I’m sure they would enjoy the distraction from their serious and dangerous work.

  • Michaelhenry

    british law is anti catholic, the good friday agreement and sinn fein means we are all equal

  • Lionel Hutz

    I would just leave him be Pete. Henry94 is always good for a laugh.

    The President is guardian of the consitution, which provides for the dissolution of parliament. If parliaments are dissolved, they have no members.

  • Alias

    Actually, Henry is spot-on in post #13. They remain as TDs after dissolution with their designation changing to “outgoing Deputy” until they are either re-elected or not. They can still use publicly funded services and facilities at Leinster House to attend to ongoing constituency work but not for constituency work that postdates the dissolution or for electioneering purposes. The reason they pile the stationary into their cars is simply because the printing facility shuts up shop on the day of dissolution, and this stops other TDs who run short of stationary stealing their supplies. Their secretarial staff and parliamentary assistants also continue in the service of the outgoing TD, duly funded by the State.

  • fin

    the rules state its also an offence to update any website which contains ‘MP’ in the URL and all other websites must carry a clear disclaimer that the person is not currently an MP,

    All websites
    2.10 All Members’ websites must bear a clear disclaimer throughout
    the dissolution period which makes it clear that the website was
    established while you were a Member of Parliament and that
    you are, until re-elected, no longer a Member of Parliament. The
    disclaimer should read:
    “This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament.
    As Parliament has been dissolved there are no Members of
    Parliament until after the election on XX XXX 2010”.

    Domain names and email addresses referring to you as
    an MP
    2.12 No one can use the title MP during dissolution and you should
    not use a website or an email address during dissolution if it
    suggests you are currently an MP. Any website that contains a
    URL referring to you as an MP (e.g. should be
    frozen. This means the website may remain online, but that no new
    content should be added except the disclaimer, contact details and/
    or a link to an alternative web site.

    a quick google shows many MPs including David Cameron and Peter Robinson are in breach of the rules…….your point was

  • Comrade Stalin

    that assembly no longer exists and no-one can claim to be a member.

    This really is daft hair splitting, I can’t imagine that a judge would take this very seriously. Proving that there were material consequences arising from someone who is campaigning to be re-elected again describing themselves as an MP would be very difficult.

  • Ulick


    thanks for that link. That’s very impressive use of the new media she has going there.

    I can’t really speak for any of the other Parties, but what is encouraging about the SF use of Facebook and Twitter is that the impetus seems to be coming from the ground up as opposed to leadership directive. The only gripe I would have so far is that most of the cumainn are using it to make connections with each other rather than with their constituents. Hopefully this will change as they realise the potential.