Martin McGuinness won't accept crown title

Jan. 3, 2013 at 12:45 AM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Martin McGuinness, the Irish republican who never occupied his seat in the British Parliament, says he will not accept the title that comes with quitting.

The title of Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, which comes with no pay and no responsibilities, is awarded because British MPs are allowed to resign only to accept an office under the Crown. McGuinness, deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the republican Sinn Fein party, said he rejects the new title, with a spokesman calling it one of the "antiquated and ridiculous titles of the British parliamentary system," the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president who resigned from Parliament in 2011, made the same decision.

Both McGuinness and Adams refused to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and never occupied their seats in Parliament. They could claim expenses and allowances for providing services to constituents but never received salaries.

McGuinness has not said whether he will claim expenses for closing up his parliamentary office. He resigned earlier this week, saying he was complying with the new Sinn Fein policy of avoiding "double-jobbing," holding two political offices.

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