Sinn Fein lawmaker and Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will resign his seat in the U.K. Parliament at Westminster as part of a policy of ending “dual mandates,” the party said today.
“Martin will resign as MP for Mid-Ulster to concentrate on his work in the Assembly and as Deputy First Minister,” Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said in an e-mailed statement. “This will obviously necessitate a by-election for Westminster.”
Sinn Fein, which wants Northern Ireland to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland, doesn’t take its seats at Westminster in London in protest of having to swear allegiance to the monarchy. The party is the second largest in the 108-seat Northern Ireland power-sharing assembly, which was revived in 2007 as part of a peace deal.
Meeting Queen Elizabeth II when she visits Northern Ireland later this month would be a “massive ask for Irish republicans,” McGuinness said in today’s statement. “At this time we do not have a doable position.”