Treatment of Scots MPs ‘affirms abstentionism’

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald
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The leader of Sinn Fein says that looking at how Scotland’s Nationalist MPs are treated in Westminster affirms her belief in abstentionism.

Sinn Fein’s seven elected MPs do not take their seats in the House of Commons, despite repeated calls to do so during key Brexit votes.

On whether her party would ever take their seats, Mary Lou McDonald claimed yesterday that the seven votes would be ineffectual and her party is resolute in its stance.

“I have no business in Westminster, we have no business in your parliament,” she said.

“Westminster, correctly, advances and protects what it regards to be British interests. We have no business interfering in that. I am Irish, we have two parliaments and we advance Irish interests.

“I look at the experience of our Scottish colleagues and I see them at Westminster, I think there’s 30-odd, and I think they would readily attest that Westminster has no interest in Scotland either, Westminster has never served Irish interests, it’s not constituted to do that. Irish interests are defended in Dublin and Belfast.”

McDonald told Andrew Marr that the Good Friday Agreement would have to be revisited in the event of a hard Brexit on 29 March, and an Irish unity referendum should be held.

“Put simply, if the border in Ireland cannot be mitigated, cannot be managed in the short term, then you put the question democratically in the hands of the people and allow them to remove the border,” she said.