Martin McGuinness to give up Westminster seat

 

Sinn Fein MP for Mid Ulster Martin McGuinness is to resign his seat, forcing a by-election, as part of a shake-up to end Sinn Fein dual mandates at Westminster.

Party president Gerry Adams said Sinn Fein's four other MPs will stand down from the Northern Ireland Assembly where new representatives can be put in their place without further elections.

Mr Adams said his party would continue to refuse to sit in Westminster, but wanted to avoid creating a string of electoral contests by resigning all five of its parliamentary seats.

Stormont politicians have been heavily criticised in the past for holding posts in local councils, the devolved Stormont Assembly and at Westminster.

Mr Adams said: "The key thing to be said about this issue is that other parties are talking about ending dual mandate, Sinn Fein has ended dual mandate."

The Sinn Fein MPs set to leave the Assembly are West Belfast representative Paul Maskey and West Tyrone representative Pat Doherty, plus former Stormont ministers Fermanagh/South-Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew and Newry/Armagh MP Conor Murphy.

Mr Adams said his party had resolved the issue of Assembly members holding council seats, and was now dealing with MPs who sit at Stormont.

"We are today announcing that that is going to be phased out," said the Sinn Fein leader.

He said Mr McGuinness had to remain in the Assembly because of his role as Deputy First Minister, while new Sinn Fein faces would be co-opted on to the Stormont benches to fill the four vacant places.

Mr Adams said it was possible that at the next Assembly elections the MPs may choose to seek to return to Stormont.

But he said they would in the meantime continue to play leading roles in the party.

Mr Adams is a former MP and Assembly member for West Belfast and resigned the seats to successfully contest a parliamentary seat in Louth in the Irish Republic where his party has enjoyed increased support.

"Our party is developing across the island. We have a lot of work to do to meet our potential," he said.

He said of his MPs' future roles: "There will be lots of work to do in terms of both lobbying and policy.

"We will not be taking up seats at Westminster, just to make that clear.

"We also will be putting in place a programme of work across Britain strictly in relation to promoting the merits of Irish unity."

Mr McGuinness thanked all those who had voted for him since he took the Mid Ulster Westminster seat in 1997.

"I am in a different position from my colleagues, in that I will be continuing on as an MLA," he said.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those people who supported me for the last 15 years in election after election.

"But my work on their behalf will continue in this Assembly."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before