Sir: Dr Oliver Rafferty (letter, 16 May) makes a bizarre claim that the Speaker's decision to refuse Commons facilities to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness amounts to a repudiation by the British ruling classes of the results of the testing by Adams and McGuinness of their claims at the ballot box and the setting aside of the democratic choices of Northern Ireland nationalists. Their decision to refuse to take their seats amounts to a deliberate disenfranchisement of all their respective constituents.
They are not in any real sense Members of Parliament until they accept the rules of joining that parliament, namely swearing the oath of allegiance. They were elected "to serve" as Members of Parliament: if they will not serve, how can they be entitled to any related facilities?
Those who voted for Adams and McGuinness may be happy for them not to take their seats, but should not the disenfranchised voters of these two constituencies have the right to representation in Parliament? If the winner of an election refuses to take his seat, why aren't the voters entitled to a by-election?
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