For more than 100 years, MPs from the Irish Republican party Sinn Fein including Gerry Adams have refused to take their seats in the House of Commons as they officially do no recognise the rule of Westminster. However, all of that could be about to change as it has been reported that their seven MPs are on their way to London to begin the formal process of taking a place in parliament.
Sinn Fein MPs have also historically refused to sit in the House of Commons as it involves taking an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II – the significance of this news cannot be understated!
According to reports this morning, the ongoing negotiations between the Conservatives and the DUP to form a government with a slim majority have pushed their traditional Northern Ireland rivals into taking drastic action.
Domestic politics aside (the situation is incredibly complex and there have already been allegations that any Tory/DUP alliance is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement), the arrival of seven Sinn Fein MPs in Parliament would mean that the Tory/DUP majority would effectively be four seats.
Leading up to the general election, a lot was made of Jeremy Corbyn’s links with the IRA one way or another – could these chickens be about to come home to roost?
This wafer-thin majority could make it near impossible for Theresa May to pass laws, which would lead to the dreaded vote of no confidence.
In this situation, there would therefore be a real concern that Jeremy Corbyn could form a ‘progressive alliance’ with other parties and form his own minority government.
You really couldn’t make this up, could you? Just when we finally thought that this whole sorry mess had an end in sight, with Mrs May finally managing to salvage something from the train wreck of the general election, the political wing of the IRA decides to chuck its own spanner in the works.
The fallout could be even sooner if the extra seven Sinn Fein MPs decide to vote down the Tory/DUP Queen’s Speech, whenever it finally arrives in parliament.
In that situation, Jeremy Corbyn could seize the initiative even sooner and become Prime Minister.
Sinn Fein’s most prominent MP Gerry Adams has also said that a referendum on Irish unity is now ‘inevitable’ because of the whole saga.
Nobody wants to see our union fall apart. We have only just managed to get Nicola Sturgeon to put a sock in it, and her own election results backed this up!