Dual Mandate or Double Jobbing? They mean the same thing but one is much more perjorative than the other.

This means a person being a member of two legislative Assemblies at the same time…ie Westminster Parliament and the regional Assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Norn Iron. The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Douglas Ross is a member of the House of Commons and the Scottish Assembly.

The practice of Dual Mandate/Double Jobbing was discredited in Norn Iron and for some years now, it has only been possible to be a MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly at Stormont) OR a MP (Member of Parliament at Westminster).

In many ways it can be seen that Stormont is “minor league” and Westminster is the “major league” and often the case that ambitious politicians cut their teeth at Stormont before moving on to Westminster.

Of course, it is the voters themselves who make the real choices.

So why then would Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Norn Iron seek to introduce legislation to bring back the Dual Mandate. And to do so in time for the Assembly Elections in May this year, meaning that Westminster MPs could seek election to Stormont.

Double Jobbing, as the name suggests is unpopular. But not universally unpopular. A reasonable person might see it as a bit greedy. Or that a legislator cannot be part time in Belfast AND London.

Four of the five major parties…Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and UUP have condemned the British proposal. DUP have welcomed it.

The official reason for the British decision is that it merely brings Norn Iron into line with the rest of the disUnitedKingdom. It creates a level playing field and all parties here are free to decide whether to stand a MP as a candidate in May.

As too often, the British are being disingenuous.

For a start, UUP are not represented at Westminster. So they are unaffected.

Sinn Féin have seven seats at Westminster but as abstentionists, they do not take an oath of allegiance and do not actually take up seats. They are effectively place-holders (and as I am fairly neutral on abstention) I see their point that the Mother of Parliaments is not all it claims to be. For SF, Westminster is largely irrelevant and with the exceptions of Chris Hazzard (South Down), Michelle Gildernew (Fermanagh-South Tyrone) and possibly Paul Maskey (West Belfast), they tend to show more contempt for Westminster by sending four second-raters to London.

In Sinn Féin terms, Stormont (and of course Dublin) is where the action is.

SDLP hold two seats at Westminster. Colum Eastwood (Foyle) and Claire Hanna (South Belfast). Both romped home in 2019, in part due to Claire reaching out beyond traditional nationalist support and SF withdrawing to support the leading anti Brexit candidate.

In five seat per constituency Colum might be a big enough hitter to bring in a third SDLP MLA. Claire might be a big enough hitter to bring in a running mate.

To be clear….this wont happen. SDLP has already picked three candidates in Foyle and two in South Belfast. And are optimistic that a seat can be gained.

Alliance has one Westminster seat (Stephen Farry in North Down) and has one of the five Assembly seats there. Farry might be a big enough hitter to help gain a targeted seat there. But s strongly against Dual Mandate/Double Jobbing.

To be clear to the voters of these parties, Dual Mandat/?Double Jobbing is discredited.

But the DUP. They hold eight seats but are in danger of losing their position as the biggest Assembly party and with it, the position of First Minister to Sinn Féin. The Party has been doing badly in opinion polls.

So it is tempting to repatriate Sammy Wilson (East Antrim), Ian Paisley (North Antrim), Gavin Robinson (East Belfast) and Gregory Campbell (East Derry) to head their Assembly ticket.

And “Sir” Jeffrey Donaldson…….now there’s a thing. A few months into his leadership of the DUP, he is the MP for Lagan Valley. Currently he would have to resign his seat and stand for Assembly if he is to become First (or Second) Minister. And the problem there is that DUP might lose that seat if the other parties rally behind the Alliance candidate, Sorcha Eastwood. Actually I think it is ONLY possible if other parties back Eastwood. She is certainly a firm believer in her own ability and threat.

Would DUP voters tolerate Double Jobbing?

Yes, they would. Partly because it might help them keep First Minister position. But also because many evangelical voters believe that Greed is actually an aspiration. Riches are a blessing. They have no shame about Money in the way that many voters in other parties do.

Of course, it is hardly a coincidence that the British government is doing something that obviously helps DUP….they have abandoned any pretence at being neutral in Norn Iron affairs.

Of course any DUP MP winning an Assembly seat can always resign and be replaced by a co-option.

Everyone (in the DUP at least) is a Winner.

I am looking forward to the condemnation of British policy on Slugger O’Toole.

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14 Responses to JeffreyMandering

  1. gingray says:

    You got your wish! It’s on slugger 😉
    Tho obviously not from Mick, as he won’t found a way to blame it on SF.

    It’s a terribly brutal plan, if the DUP stand all their MPs, may get a few extra % and retain FM position, which they would see as worth it.

    SF to me would be the big winner, they would benefit in NB, FST and SD having the MP stand, but not sure they can now

    • There is almost as much chaos in the middle ground as there is in the DUP.
      There areno policy issues in the upcoming election. Even as I vote SDLP, a part of me is voting for the First Minister. In realistic terms that’s a straight fight between SF and DUP.
      People might well say that they vote SDLP, UUP, and they can actually get First Mi inter if they out vote SF or DUP. And that’s true but a very long shot.
      As Alliance is neutr, then they can’t get First Minister so any Alliance voter has to make that same decision in terms.s of a second preference.
      “One side might be as bad as the other” (as the middle ground might say) but the consequence of the election is that there is going to be a First Minister, whether theetsgetalongerists like it or not.

      Pre Bexit, the middle ground could hope for increased Alliance votes. And the decline in nationalism and a great new “liberal unionist” society.
      The charge sheet against SF…violence ….is harder to claim. The best that they can come up with is Bobby Storey. And that is not gonna work two years on.
      The charge sheet against DUP….Brexit, Protocol, human rights gets longer.
      So one side is as bad as the other does not resonate to reasonable people.
      For all the much vaunted rise in Alliance polling, they have never been more impotent.

      Much as I would like a SDLP First Minister, it is unlikely to happen.
      DUP or SF?
      That’s the only question the people who call themselves neutral need to face.
      After all two years ago, they were actually praying to get Stormont up and running.
      Rather than face up to the reasonableness that SF is now actually morally better than DUP, I’d expect the increasingly hysterical middle ground to call for Direct Rule.
      They will use the JeffreyMander as an excuse. In their eyes anything is better than a SF Minister.

      Slugger is always amusing.

  2. hoboroad says:

    A political stitch up on behalf of the DUP in Lagan Valley. No wonder Stephen Farry spat his dummy out on the BBC this morning. I wonder what little Jeffrey has given in return? I doubt the Tories gave him such a nice late Christmas gift for nothing in return.

    • Jeffrey has always managed to be in the right place at the right time. From Enoch Powells assistant to Lagan Valley. the loyal orders and UUP to DUP to leadership.
      this year two DUP leaders have been ex-UUP.
      Someone is looking after Jeffrey.

  3. Luke says:


  4. hoboroad says:

    Wasn’t old Enoch investigated by the Church of England for alleged historical criminal offences. Did they ever issue a report into what they found? I know Magill Magazine has run a article on Enoch.

  5. hoboroad says:

    According to the Daily Express Cummings is getting ready to drop another bombshell on Boris. It really could be a Blue Monday for Boris and his friends.

  6. hoboroad says:

    From Cummings Twitter feed:

    FACT: Police do NOT ‘scan’ bags of those with a no10 pass, u cd walk a grenade or cocaine in if you wanted. Trying to shift blame to police who guard the building is stupid & offensive. Blame lies with the 🛒 & some staff, NOT No10 guards/custodians

  7. David says:

    Why does the SDLP not do better in West Belfast and do you think it can win one this time out?

    • I was a member of SDLP (including a year as Falls Branch secretary) in the 1970s. It was hard going.
      Between Provos (and the civilian supporters largely family members), the British Army, Stickies (ie Official IRA, Republican Clubs/Workers Party and a population living in fear of loyalist gangs…it was very difficult.
      I think Fitt and later Devlin leaving SDLP and the Hunger Strikes meant that with only a handful of members, we lost the initiative.
      In recent years I have gone to polling stations and SDLP have a few activists and Sinn Féin have a massive machine…….an army.
      In a five seater, four SF and one People Before Profit is a bit unhealthy…..from Castle Street to Poleglass it is either a one party state or you could say is the establishment.

      People react to establishment in different ways, celebrate the fact that they are part of it or get angry that they are not part of it.

      I think there is an element within the West Belfast that thinks SF has done pretty well for itself while some republicans have not done so well.

      Can SDLP make progress. Paul Doherty seems a good candidate and heavily involved in Food Banks which is not directly political but he would have a lot of goodwill from uncommitted voters.
      I think SDLP are targeting the seat and could go close.

      • David says:

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply. There was little or no sign of SDLP recovery in 2019 but hopefully we will see some this year.

      • I actually think there was a recovery. It was disguised by the partys own advice “vote for the pro EU candidate who is most likely to win”. And I think that actually boosted Alliance.
        I am working on a post “Colum Factor, Claire Factor, SDLP Factor”
        I think Colum does attract votes beyond Foyle broadly but not entirely in the west) and Claire attracts votes in maybe suburban Belfast.

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