Adams to apply to the Crown for ‘job’ in the Chilterns?

Kudos to David at, for spotting a deliciously cruel (not to mention trivial) technicality for the abstentionist MP for West Belfast. Michael Crick (who likes his politicians served up on toast), tricks out the Republican dilemma:

The traditional route is a procedural device whereby the resigning MP applies either to be Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds of Buckinghamshire, or of the Manor of Northstead.

Both are deemed to be “offices of profit under the Crown” and holding either post then disqualifies somebody from being an MP.

The jobs are given out alternately, and Northstead is next in line. The appointment has to be conferred by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is just a formality.

Alright. No bother. And it is unutterably silly. But, Crick asks:

How could a staunch Irish republican like Adams, who has steadfastly refused even to take his seat at Westminster, possibly apply for a job under the British Crown?


  • fitzjameshorse1745


  • Mick Fealty

    It’s the way things are done.

  • Neil

    That may be procedure, but what exactly do you think would happen if he tendered his resignation and went off to another jurisdiction? Nothing.

    What punishment can be levied against Adams if he refuses to follow protocol? Again nothing. Any person can resign from any job with a given notice period. End of story.

  • Dewi

    It’s strange that Adams can become an MP without taking an oath but can’t resign without going through this rigmarole….oh the wonders of an unwritten constitution…

  • If he hasn’t taken his seat, what’s there to resign from?

  • Sean Og

    That may be procedure, but what exactly do you think would happen if he tendered his resignation and went off to another jurisdiction? Nothing.

    What punishment can be levied against Adams if he refuses to follow protocol? Again nothing. Any person can resign from any job with a given notice period. End of story.

    He would still be the member for Belfast West and no bye Election could take place.

  • cynic47

    Hasn’t he given the people of West Belfast a wonderful service…..not!

  • Neil

    He would still be the member for Belfast West and no bye Election could take place.

    I would say a good argument could be had around that. I don’t see any mention of any law that would require Gerry to play ball, and given the fact that the shinners don’t take their seats or the oath suggests to me that there’s considerable leeway to be had in all these situations.

    I don’t see how there’s any way on Earth Gerry could be compelled to jump through any hoops on his way out the door, given that he couldn’t be compelled to take his seat or the oath, something that would have been unheard of til SF showed that that was possible.

  • What is the pay for this position? Is it a shilling?

  • Dewi

    A quid I think – although can’t find reference.

  • joeCanuck

    It might not be so trivial. If there is no other way to exit Westminster, he will not be able to take up a seat in Dublin because of Irish law.

  • Dr Concitor

    If he is technically still an MP could some awkward TD make it impossible for him to take his seat in the Dail. Say the result was really close, one seat could make all the difference. Such a sweet Catch 22!

  • Mick Fealty
  • Its a technicality I’m sure a way can be found to avoid the MP for W Belfast having to be MP for a non existant constituency…

    I may be wrong but wasn’t the last MP for the non existant Chiltern Hundreds the Labour high flyer who faked his own suicide?

  • joeCanuck

    Wasn’t it our very own Iris? Or was that the lord of the manor position?

  • Neil

    I would have thought that Gerry would have the ability to invoke UK employment law and tender his resignation as we all have a right to do. We shall have to wait and see, it’s worth bearing in mind (more so for me than you) that Gerry can and will move goalposts from time to time, so I won’t be astounded if he does follow protocol or if he doesn’t. I would have thought though any UK or EU employment law regarding resignation would apply and supercede any unwritten rules that exist in Westminster.

  • If the AV referendum goes through, could the mechanism for a recall election come into play?

  • HeinzGuderian

    Awk,ye know Gerry……….Finally………..he has gone away,ye know !!!! 🙂

  • Framer

    Too true, no by-election. He could instead get a job as a Church of Ireland clergyman, MI% tout or postman and this would have the same effect.

  • joeCanuck

    Interesting aside. When I first went to work for an electricity company, there was a drawer full of peppercorns. When I enquired i was told that we had easements through people’s gardens for cables and the rent was one peppercorn per year. The peppercorns were sent out regularly.

  • Scratch that, having checked, I don;t think recall elections are in that bill, although there is supposed to be legislation next year.

  • joe

    Oh yes! I had forgotten. If it happens he will be joining an illustrious crew.

    I don’t think its right though. he is leaving not being thrown out, its very different, there aught to be a separate system for ordinary resigning.

  • Dr Concitor

    I don’t think any employment law would take precedence over parliamentary rules. Maybe he could do a Guy Fawkes.
    Seriously though I’m sure the Mother of Parliaments would find a way to let him go.

  • Drumlins Rock

    but we are political geeks here, we thrive on trivia like this FJH!

    and what will the people of Northstead think?

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s a matter of that weird idiosyncratic anomaly known as the British Constitution Neil. It ought to be written down and codified, but I bet it’s full of strange anachronisms like this.

    Given the degree to which the trivial in NI has been raised to the epic, I am betting this was a decidedly unintended consequence of the Ard Chomairle’s decision.

  • Jean Meslier

    Thank you Mick for the sideshow. No doubt it will not be the last on this historic story.
    At Edentubber yesterday Adams forewarned the Louth activists to prepare for the forthcoming campaign of reaction from the 26 County establishment and all other reactionary quarters.
    Personally I would welcome “an awkward TD”challenging GA’s right, if elected, to sit in an Irish Parliament. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone would be so stupid. (oxygen of publicity et al)

    The landscape has changed folks.
    Get used to it.
    The struggle goes on.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    “The struggle goes on.”

    To force one million British people into a soon-to-be third world, bankrupt, banana republic against their will.

    Good luck with that one.

  • Dr Concitor

    Jean this is just a bit of fun started by Mick. I don’t think either Westminster or Dail Eireann would stop GA taking his seat if elected.

  • The Impartial Observer

    I doubt either government would raise any objection but there are bound to be some people who would live to unearth some obscure constitutional reason why it couldn’t happen. Jim Allister perhaps? He certainly knows his law!

  • Rory Carr

    “The appointee holds the office [of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds] until such time as another MP is appointed, or they apply to be released. Sometimes this can be a matter of minutes, as on the occasion when three or more MPs apply on the same day.”

    Adams can tender his resignation, the Chancellor can treat that letter as though he had applied for the Chiltern Hundreds (or Stewardship of the manor of Northstead, whichever is up for grabs on the day) without Adams making such a formal request. The Chancellor then makes the appointment (to which no benefit has attached since the 17th century), the resignation as MP is effected and the Chancellor then immediately also dismisses Adams from the position of stewardship. Honour satisfied all round.

    It might be noted that, as Wikipedia tells us: “This legal anomaly dates back to a resolution of the House of Commons of 2 March, 1624, passed at a time when MPs were often elected to serve against their will.” So about bloody time it was changed and perhaps Adam’s resignation will prove to be the catalyst in effecting that, which would be his parting gift to progress in ending this antiquated and ridiculous British tradition. There will, I expect, be the usual huffing and puffing from the pages of the Spectator and the Daily Hellograph! (as Private Eye has so accurately dubbed the Barclay Twins’ flagship now so besotted with “babes” and fashionable gossip) but that is only to be expected.

  • just sayin’

    he ain’t an employee ….

  • Cynic

    Unless he resigns, he remains an MP. The only way to resign between elections is through the Act.

    His legal problem isn’t in the UK. It is in Ireland where a TD cant be a Westminster MP. So unless he applies to get out of Westminster, in Ireland he cant be appointed to the Dail.

    Delicious. Irish legislation forces him to kow tow to Liz

    I am sure she will be very reasonable in letting him go though. All he has to do is beg and swear allegiance and that shouldn’t be hard, should it.

    Did the great strategist think this one through then?

  • Cynic

    Thats the real point. Its not Westminster riles that are his problem it is Irish law

  • Cynic

    An aggrieved candidate just might

  • joeCanuck

    Of course, Rory.
    There are lots of archaic things about that place courtesy mainly of not having a written constitution. Same with the laws. there was one forbidding policemen (then) from walking on the pavement beside decent people, I understand. Might even still be on the books.

  • bemused

    SF may be republicans, but I doubt their voters seriously care whether *Britain* is ruled by a monarch. SF say they don’t take WM seats because representing Irish constituencies there would recognize a UK claim to sovereignty in NI. These symbolic offices don’t involve any assertion of UK sovereignty over any part of Ireland. What is the problem? If the UK gov wanted to make things hard on him, they would refuse to hire him for him the Hundreds gig and offer him a job as something like “Lord Sheriff of Londonderry.”

  • latcheeco

    Because forcing an equal number of Irish people against their will into a failed artificial sectarian cesspit taught everybody clearly that that it isn’t the way to go

  • Barry the Blender

    If they hadn’t gone and abolished the Escheator of Munster in 1838 then Gerry would be the perfect applicant for that post.

    It would be quite a nice little job for him to him to secure property rights for the crown for lands legally forfeited by the inhabitants of Southern Ireland

  • Mr Crowley

    It’s all good Rory, Steward of the Cilterns is but a stepping stone to Lord of Ballymurphy where Liam can be Steward of the Childrens. He’ll be a better fit in the lords than the previous Gerry from west Belfast.

  • Mike

    Interestingly (and oddly), up until the early 20th century, Ministerial office was among those Crown offices which disqualified someone from being an MP (an indication of how the UK could have developed along the lines of a separate executive and legislature?). So the Prime Minister and his Cabinet all had to resign from Parliament and seek re-election. Once, re-elected, they were allowed to sit in Parliament (I’m not entirely sure why).

  • alanmaskey

    With this Adams Family Monty Python character, don’t mention the war. Or much else.
    Maybe Hollywood could do as movie of him. With Charles Manson playing the lead role.
    I am looking forward to seeing him upstage Anne Widdecombe omn Strictly Come Dancing

  • alanmaskey

    Adams has been given enough slack already. He should be made crawl if he wants to resign. Then the ads should appear in Louth.
    Don’t mention the war.
    Who are the Unknowns?
    Who would Tom Oliver vote for?
    Who is your favourtie member of the Adams family?
    Who is your favourtie member of the Adams gang?

  • I have just heard the announcement that there will be a Royal Wedding next year.

    Could it be that Martin will get an invitation?

    All grist for the mill in the world of Slugger trivia

  • So is Martin off to the Chilterns or to Northstead? Is it not about time this silliness was dispensed with? Why not just a simple resignation?