It seems my search for a comfortable sinecure will have to continue, as Parliamentary tradition has been upheld now Gerry Adams has decided to end the rather pointless deadock over his resignation by accepting the role as Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. He may, of course, have noted that David Davis For Freedom took the job of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds and immediately resigned from it in 2008, so is likely planning the same course of action.
It would be interesting if he could keep the role for just a little while, if only so fans of political trivia can pose obscure questions about holders of offices of profit under the British Crown and seats in the Dáil Éireann.
I’m sure when Sinn Fein set out to reshape the way the UK was governed, this wasn’t what they had in mind:
A Sinn Fein spokesman told Newsnight that Adams “wrote to the Speaker’s office on Friday and informed him of his resignation. It’s a non-issue from our perspective. He submitted his resignation and that’s it. He’s stepped down from that position. He certainly didn’t apply for the Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead.”
It seems Mr Adams has found some way of resigning from Parliament without going through these ancient procedures.
Is it just me who thinks Adams has missed a trick here? I can imagine him striding across the North Riding, declaring what he intended to do as Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead and causing at least mild consternation amongst some people. And as Iris Robinson currently holds that other notable position of profit under the Crown – the Chiltern Hundreds – it would have provided an interesting political balance between the two.
But, if you are now to be able to simply resign from Parliament without taking up the posts and MPs will not be needed to perform these vitally important roles, I would like to inform the Speaker and the Queen that I will take on both or either of the titles to ensure that these parts of the British Constitution are not just swept under the carpet.