Sinn Fein's Adams says will not take up seats in parliament

Sinn Feinn President Gerry Adams leaves Martin McGuinness' house in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

BELFAST (Reuters) - Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein will maintain its policy of not taking seats in Britain’s parliament, the nationalist party’s president said on Thursday, a position that will cut the number of seats needed to win a parliamentary majority.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will fall short of a majority by winning 314 seats in the election, according to an exit poll. If Sinn Fein, as expected, at least retains the four seats it won in 2015, the winning party would need 324 seats for a majority, rather than 326.

“If we are fortunate enough and privileged enough to have our candidates returned as MPs, it will be on the basis that we will not be going to take our seats in Westminster,” Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams told reporters.

“There is no danger of us taking our seats in the Westminster parliament.”

Reporting by Amanda Ferguson, writing by Padraic Halpin; editing by William James