Just to add a note to Michael’s wrestle with the Gerry problem. Alas I was unable to answer the BBC’s very reasonable query this morning about G Adams who may have been the MP who never was and yet the MP who still remains. So they took the thorny problem to my friend and fellow townsman, Middle Temple barrister and strict legal constructionist Austen Morgan, no better man.
Gerry Adams may have to remain an MP if he does not follow parliamentary rules on resignation, an expert on constitutional law has said.
Austen Morgan said that the British constitution is viewed as “sacred” and he did not believe the rules would be changed to suit the West Belfast MP.
However, the speaker’s office has indicated he did not follow procedure.
Far be it for me.. This is certainly one for the Clerk of the House. But in the end, despite its ancient and arcane traditions, Parliament is a pragmatic place and the citizens of West Belfast cannot go unrepresented and in limbo for ever (if you can be in limbo forever)
I would guess that the West Belfast seat would be declared vacant on a motion of the House, as if the sitting MP had died or had gone insane. I said guess. But they’ll find a way to wrap it, for sure.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London