17 January 2002 Edition

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Rule change at Westminster welcomed

Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has said that the party's success in securing the use of parliamentary office facilities at Westminster in London is a victory for the rights of Sinn Féin voters.

But he insisted that Sinn Féin will not be taking its seats at Westminster, whether or not the oath of allegiance to the British queen stays or goes.

"People should be very clear that this does not mark a shift in the Sinn Féin policy of abstentionism, which was supported by the majority of the nationalist electorate at the last Westminster election," said the West Tyrone MP. "We will not be swearing an oath to a British monarch, nor will we be taking seats in Westminster."

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