One last go at the Gerry thing

The Gerry Adams “resignation” is probably one of the most pointless but nerdishly interesting things I’ve ever seen. Pete has already brought us the BBC’s report of the exchange between Sir George Young and Hiliary Benn earlier today, but it is worth exploring a little. Sir George said:

During the subsequent exchanges, Members raised the hypothetical possibility of a future Chancellor appointing a Member without a firm application for a relevant post from that Member. I find it inconceivable that such a situation would occur; it is a matter of constitutional principle that a Chancellor does not act without an unambiguous request from a Member to relinquish his or her seat. In this case, that request was a letter of resignation. In addition, there is a protection in the form of provision in the 1975 Act for a Member not to accept any office that would lead to his or her disqualification. I have to say in response to the right hon. Gentleman’s final point on the matter that this law on resignation from the House has served us well for 260 years—and the Government have no plans to change it.

This is the point that Pete had been raising, but interpreting, if I have understood him, incorrectly. Young does seem to have it right that the Chancellor can appoint whoever he likes, but MPs retain the statutory right not to accept such a disqualifying office under section 8 of the HoC Disqualification Act 1975.  Therefore it seems logical that the position is that Adams has an office of profit under the Crown unless he exercises his right not to be appointed and keep his seat.  I suspect that means that the Speaker should probably have either waited a while, or written to Adams seeking clarification of his intention, but there we have it.  Destination resignation arrived at, and David Cameron was right at PMQs yesterday after all.

Just to finish it all off, it is still interesting to me that Adams is happy enough with the bit of the British Constitution that lets him stand for a seat, get elected and then not fulfil any of the duties other than to claim expenses, yet “has no truck” with the bit that requires him to jump through a simple hoop to quit. Do you reckon holding an office of profit under the Crown is also a disqualification from the IRA or it’s Army Council? Not that it matters anymore. Or ever did of course.

  • Neil

    yet “has no truck” with the bit that requires him to jump through a simple hoop to quit.

    A problem you and your muckers in the UCUNF would just love to have eh Mick?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    If Slugger was the House of Commons, a lot of people might consider applying for the Chiltern Hundreds. 🙂

  • MichaelMac

    Gerry stood simply to represent the feelings of the electorate that voted for him.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “David Cameron was right at PMQs yesterday after all”

    Firstly poor Davey had to apolgise to Gerry for his untimely remarks which makes his guffawing a touch embarassing for him.

    Secondly his colleagues are /were of the opinion he was misleading the house – inadvertenlty (ie he fecked up) and said so in the house.

    Thirdly, the poor Unionists who were laughing with Davey as he got in a muddle were later moved to opinion that there was British-SF stitch up.

    Outstanding work by Slugger in giving this entertaining saga so much attention – though disappointingly for some it does rather seem to have backfired very badly.

  • Fionn

    “Do you reckon holding an office of profit under the Crown is also a disqualification from the IRA or it’s Army Council? Not that it matters anymore. Or ever did of course.”

    I’d guess no since Peter Robinson and the rest of the Army Council of Ulster Resistance held an office of profit some years ago.

    Indeed the founder of Ulster Resistance Ian Paisley is a Privy Councillor at the moment, and his organisation haven’t even decommissioned

    And I believe several members of the Ulster Vanguard Army Council sit in the Lords.

    Hope this answers your question

  • Fionn

    “still interesting to me that Adams is happy enough with the bit of the British Constitution that lets him stand for a seat, get elected and then not fulfil any of the duties other than to claim expenses”

    unlike the unionist electorate who got value for money from their MPs/MLAs popping over to London to ask a childish question and then giggling like girls over the answer, gosh, republicans don’t know what they’re missing

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fionn,

    Would this be the same Vanguard who threatened civil war ( ie kill any Catholics they could find) if the British government didnt give in to this threat and reverse its own policy and which supplied the 2 previous leaders to the ‘moderate’ Ulster Unionist party perchance?

  • MichaelMac

    The elephanrt in the room of course is Cameron lying to the commons, seemingly not worthy of a thread on Slugger.

  • joeCanuck

    If points have to be awarded, I declare it to be a draw.
    Mr.Adams is no longer an MP.
    Yes he is.
    No he isn’t.
    Yes he is.
    No he isn’t.
    Yes he is.
    No he isn’t.

    Ad infinitum.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    A phone Rings in Dun Dealgan

    Gerry :Whose that?

    Private Secretary: Downing Street.

    Gerry: Hello Miz Downing Street, hous about ye?

    Private Secretary:is it a good time for you Gerry? Mr Cameron would like to apologise.

    Gerry: For the famine? Ballymurphy? Or just a blanket British apology?

    Private Secretary: Eh, No we are working on those – he would like to apologize for not clearing his words with you before speaking inappropriately in the house – and for his ungentlemanly guffawing.

    Gerry: No bother, just tell him he owes me one – I’ll be in touch, Slan.

  • joeCanuck

    They need to issue the byelection writ as soon as possible. We cannot allow the people of West Belfast to go unrepresented.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    joeCanuck,

    “We cannot allow the people of West Belfast to go unrepresented.”

    Joe, no need to worry they have an excellent assembly team to cover that – any matters relating to overseas issues are dealt with via the front door of Downing St by Marty.

    Thats the way most Nationalists in Ulster like it.

  • Procrasnow

    THIS WHOLE THING IS CRAZY. Remember Iris also resigned, If Gerry is a Baron of such and such, Is Iris the Baroness of such and such, that would really be an odd couple!!

  • Mr Crumlin

    I make that 12 threads now on this! Time please, gentlemen!!!!!!!!

  • the old Manxman

    And still it goes on. Re-posting this as this was at the end of a superceded thread (though at this rate the same thing may happen). [Oh and Iris is Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham. Though I assume she’ll be resigned with as little consent as Gerry’s appointment when the next MP needs to bail out.]

    To an outsider this all looks a bit weird and rather sad. What is a slightly intriguing and mildly amusing question of constitutional law for politics geeks is being treated as a matter of life and death (or more important than that).

    Republicans are proclaiming the whole thing as a famous victory over the entire British Establishment. Which rather ignores the fact that that Establishment has only made some minor adjustment to engineer a situation that happens to suit both you and them. Also if you’re denouncing meaningless flummery, it might not be a good idea to top and tail the letter in a language neither you or the recipient speak.

    Unionists are meanwhile insisting that all this is the equivalent of Mr Adams crawling up to Buckingham Palace and putting his head under Mrs Mountbatten’s brogues. Pics or it didn’t happen.

    Meanwhile Slugger has devoted eight, no nine, no ten threads to the subject, all copiously and repetitively commented on. Minor matters such as the British or Irish economies or the leadership of the largest party in the Dail slip by without notice. Even if Gerry Adams is mentioned.

    Did Northern Ireland become so used to gesture politics in the years of Westminster rule that it can do no other kind?

    Meanwhile I would recommend not being so rude about men in tights. At least they’re only pretending to be in the seventeenth century.

  • the old Manxman
  • tuatha

    “I have a dream…” – Ole SteelEyes resigns Westminster and fails to get into the Dail.

  • fordprefect

    I think this thread is a waste of time, he’s resigned, (whether they make him lord buckfast of ballykissangel, against his will, is neither here nor there), get over it!.

  • joeCanuck

    Sammy,
    I thought the ability of Marty (and Peter) to walk in the front door had been removed. They now have to be content with sending messages via the SOS?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Joe,
    you should know better than to believe all you read on Slugger but PM or Viceroy all the same anyway – basic point is dont waste your time on the backbenches.

  • joeCanuck

    Good point, Sammy.
    On a slightly related note, when I call a company and get an automated menu, I immediately hit zero and usually get through quite quickly to a real person.

  • Marcus McSpartacus

    Once again, for the junior infants class at Slugger:
    The British use of the word “constitutional” is as categorically different and bizarro compared to other countries, that it may as well be a different word – analogous to the use of “Public Schools” in Britain, when it means the exact opposite of that phrase everywhere else.
    In Britain, “constitutional” means political convention, not fundamental law.

    What’s most pathetic about everyone snorting about Adams being pulled into this theatre of absurdity, is that they actually think there is some sort of joke/irony at HIS expense. This includes, sadly, Slugger and Guido.

    We are not laughing with you – we’re laughing at you. Pathetic.

  • Pete Baker

    Michael

    “This is the point that Pete had been raising, but interpreting, if I have understood him, incorrectly.”

    I don’t know if you’ve understood me or not, but I haven’t misinterpreted the point.

    The office of profit is granted in the appointment.

    That’s the point at which an MP is disqualified.

    Which is why Gerard remained an MP until he was appointed as the Crown Steward and Bailiff for the Manor of Northstead.

    It’s also why other MPs were concerned about the granting of the office when there didn’t appear to be a direct application.

    The sleight of hand here is that the letter of resignation has been interpreted as a request for the appointment to an office of profit under the Crown – as required by parliamentary law.

    The Disqualification Act allows for an appeal against that disqualification – should Adams wish to…

  • joeCanuck

    …should Adams wish to…

    Wouldn’t that be descending into the world of farce?

    You started this frenzy, Pete, with your “tongue in cheek” blog.
    What a hoot. Hope you can come up with others.

  • IanR

    JoeCanuck:

    “They need to issue the byelection writ as soon as possible. We cannot allow the people of West Belfast to go unrepresented.”

    Who do you mean by ‘they’?

    Convention in the Commons dictates that the party whose member has resigned moves the writ. But Sinn Fein don’t attend and so cannot move the writ.

    In order for a by-election to occur, another of those sacred rules in the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ will have to be broken (or fudged). Once again, sit back and watch the advocates of the status quo get their hosiery in a twist…

  • the old Manxman

    JoeCanuck:

    They need to issue the byelection writ as soon as possible. We cannot allow the people of West Belfast to go unrepresented.

    Now I see what they mean by Canada dry.

    IanR

    Convention in the Commons dictates that the party whose member has resigned moves the writ. But Sinn Fein don’t attend and so cannot move the writ.

    In order for a by-election to occur, another of those sacred rules in the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ will have to be broken (or fudged). Once again, sit back and watch the advocates of the status quo get their hosiery in a twist…

    Nope. Not usual but not unknown. In fact the last byelection writ for Oldham East was moved by the Lib Dems not Labour and tights remained untwisted. All you need is a majority in the Commons to approve.

    What is more, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were informal discussions between SF and the despised imperial overlords on the best way to do it.

  • vanhelsing

    Marcus McSpartacus

    ‘What’s most pathetic about everyone snorting about Adams being pulled into this theatre of absurdity, is that they actually think there is some sort of joke/irony at HIS expense. This includes, sadly, Slugger and Guido.

    We are not laughing with you – we’re laughing at you. Pathetic’

    No it is funny – you just don’t get it…

  • Drumlins Rock

    Could a Bi-election be called for 5th of May? or is that a bad idea, 3 votes bad enough but 4 is getting crazy! Also is there enough confusion for a “concerned citizen” to issue a legal challenge?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Drumlins Rock,

    re. “Also is there enough confusion for a “concerned citizen” to issue a legal challenge?”

    Is this regarding the resignation not really a resignation? Are you the “concerned citizen” – surely if there a squeak of an issue here Allister (and the DUP)would be all over it?

    But I was thinking that 5th of May could be the day as well – but I think I would prefer earlier as it will be something of a propaganda day for SF.