Gerry Adams has today issued a strong denial that he has accepted a position as Baron of the Manor of Northstead, following his resignation as an MP in the British parliament.
The Sinn Féin President, who is set to contest the upcoming Irish General Election, blamed a "bizarre" tradition of the UK parliament for the unwanted appointment.
In response to a question from Democratic Unionist Nigel Dodds, British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to confirm Sinn Féin had applied to resign under normal procedures.
Cameron said: “First of all, just in case people haven’t caught up with the news, you are quite right that the Honourable Member for West Belfast has accepted an office for profit under the Crown, which of course is the only way you can retire from this house.”
To laughter, he added: “I’m not sure that Gerry Adams will be delighted to be a baron of the Manor of Northstead. But nonetheless I’m pleased that tradition has been maintained.”
But since then the British Treasury confirmed that, having heard of Mr Adams’ intention to resign, the Chancellor had “taken this as a request” to be handed a title.
"The only contact I have had with the British parliament is a letter I posted to them last Thursday," said Adams.
"That letter said: ‘A chara, I hereby resign as MP for the constituency of west Belfast. Go raibh maith agat. Gerry Adams’.
"When I was told of the British Prime Minister’s remarks today this was the first I heard of this development. I understand Mr Cameron has claimed that 'the Honourable Member for West Belfast has accepted an office for profit under the Crown'.
"This is untrue. I simply resigned. I was not consulted nor was I asked to accept such an office. I am an Irish republican. I have had no truck whatsoever with these antiquated and quite bizarre aspects of the British parliamentary system.
“I am proud to have represented the people of west Belfast for almost three decades and to have done so without pledging allegiance to the English Queen or accepting British parliamentary claims to jurisdiction in my country.
“It was a wrench for me to give up the West Belfast seat.
“But I gave a commitment that when the election to the Dáil was called I would resign the West Belfast seat to stand for the Louth and East Meath constituency and I have.
“Mr Cameron’s announcement that I have become Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, wherever that is, is a bizarre development. I am sure the burghers of that Manor are as bemused as me. I have spoken to the Prime Minister's private secretary today and he has apologised for today’s events.
“While I respect the right of British parliamentarians to have their own protocols and systems, no matter how odd these may appear to the rest of the world in general and Irish people in particular, the Prime Minister should not make claims which are untrue and inaccurate.”
A Treasury spokesman has since said: “Gerry Adams has said publicly that he is resigning from Parliament.
“Consistent with long-standing precedent, the Chancellor has taken this as a request to be appointed the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead and granted the office.”