Lots of talk about today of the possibility that the Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, taking up its MP seats at Westminster. A call has been made by the prime minister of the Irish Republic, Leo Varadkar, who is saying that the Sinn Fein MPs should take up their seats at Westminster in order to make things better for Ireland.
On the face of it this seems simple but I’m am less sure. For a century Sinn Fein MPs who’ve been elected to Westminster have said they will not make the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and don’t take up their seats. This is fairly fundamental to them and the party will point out that at the time of standing they made clear that this is what they would do.
At the last election 7 Sinn Fein MPs were returned though one seat is currently vacant awaiting the outcome of a by-election.
Seat totals from GE2017
Sinn Fein 7
Given that we would assume that the DUP’s 10 MPs will go on supporting the Conservatives then on paper at least Theresa May should be able to cope with any critical vote.
The big problem, and the power, would shift to the Tory Rebels such as the former cabinet Ministers Ken Clarke. Dominic Grieve with several other names hovering in the background.
If SF turned down the request from the Irish PM then the party could be held responsible in both parts of Ireland for all ythe problems Brexit could cause. This will be a close decision.