Widders ‘n Orfens

By DeusExMacintosh

Downing Street has apologised to Gerry Adams after the prime minister said he had accepted a Crown title.

David Cameron told the House of Commons Mr Adams had accepted the title in order to resign his Westminster seat. This was disputed by the Sinn Fein President who said he had not applied and had received an apology from the PM’s office.

A treasury spokesman said that the Chancellor had appointed Mr Adams to the title. Parliamentary rules mean MPs cannot officially resign and have to accept a crown office to give up their seat.

A Treasury spokesman said on Wednesday: “Gerry Adams has said publicly that he is resigning from Parliament. “Consistent with long-standing precedent, the Chancellor has taken this as a request to be appointed the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead and granted the office.”

Earlier, David Cameron told MPs Mr Adams had accepted the role.

Speaking in response to a question from DUP MP Nigel Dodds, the prime minister said he was glad that the rules had been followed. To laughter from MPs, he added: “I’m not sure that Gerry Adams will be delighted to be Baron of the Manor of Northstead. But nonetheless I’m pleased that tradition has been maintained.”

Later on Wednesday, Mr Adams said that when he was told of Mr Cameron’s remarks it was the first he had “heard of this development”.

BBC News


  1. Posted January 31, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Ummm, what would a steward and baliff of a manor do anyway? Keep the lawns trimmed and arrest any trespassing mice?

    Here in Oz, an independent lefty (Cleary) was not so long ago prevented from taking his seat because he was an “officer of the crown” – he was a teacher at the time of his election! Everybody realized this was a cynical exercise to prevent a his ilk out of parliament, frighten all except those in private enterprise from standing, as they’d have to become unemployed first.

  2. Jacques Chester
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink


    The concept that officers under the crown cannot accept a place in Parliament is a sensible one. It’s not a conspiracy if your lefty mate was too daft to glance through that Constitution thingie, or to talk to the AEC.

    Public servants routinely quit, run for office, then go back to their old jobs, particularly in public service towns like Darwin and Canberra.

  3. Patrick
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I think you’ll find Dave it doesn’t need a conspiracy to keep Phil Cleary in a mess.

  4. derrida derider
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Yep, the convention (at least in Australia) is that officers of the Crown will be offered their job back if they quit to run for office. Cleary had only to ask around to understand that. Mind you, it would be a much better arrangement if existing officers of the Crown were simply deemed to have resigned as soon as they took up their seat, rather than being actually ineligible for Parliament.

  5. Posted January 31, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Cleary was interesting because it was a safe labor demographic, when labor were in government so cleary would have been in the seat forever – and a thorn in the side of the labor party machine, sticking to traditional labor values, as inconvenient as petro georgiou was to howard.

    So yes… Technically wrong, but the ALP raised the objection, when they’d turned a blind eye to less at other times. Is there a regulation that public servants standing for election MUST be offered their jobs back if they don’t get the seat? There should be.

  6. Patrick
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Not sure anyone ever turned a blind eye to it.

  7. Jacques Chester
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink


    The ALP is not a charitable organisation, at the best of times; but asking them to forgo luxuries like asking for adherence to the highest law of the land is perhaps a bit rich.

    I don’t care if whether this bloke is the messiah or just a very naughty boy. It’s his own fault that he didn’t read the rules. Not Labor’s, not the Coalition’s. His.

  8. Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like one of those constitutional conventions in the UK, the same way Adams’ letter of resignation was taken as an automatic request to be awarded this technical sinecure. Until the official rules change, taking the Queen’s shilling was his only way of resigning (unless, it was pointed out, he tried to enter parliament – which he is not entitled to do because although elected he has always refused to swear the oath of allegiance required – upon which he would be bodily removed and then disqualified from sitting and his seat automatically listed for a by-election).

    Am not sure which is funnier – “baron bomb” or the prospect of Gerry Adams being frog marched out of the Houses of Parliament!

  9. Patrick
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Like a convention, DEM, except that as with a number of your conventions we reified it: section 44(iv) of the Constitution of Australia and for good measure ss 49 and 58 of the Constitution of Victoria.

    (not linking since I will be moderated!!).

  10. Posted February 1, 2011 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Yeah sorry about the moderation crap Patrick, and also the light posting. I have been flat out trying to juggle work stuff, study stuff etc … and as far as I’m aware, it’s something like 42 degrees C in Melb, which is just insane.

  11. Patrick
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    not that bad!! Pretty hot though.

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