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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 13:00 GMT
Resigned: Allow me to quit for you
resigned past part., in normal usage, the act of having given up a job, as opposed to having been sacked, i.e., a voluntary decision to leave a post

NEW SPIN: Martin Sixsmith, former PR man at Department of Transport, alleges his "resignation" had been decided for him, and that he himself had not actually decided to quit.

CITATION: "Before [Transport Secretary Stephen] Byers's announcement, the permanent secretary assured me they accepted there was no suspicion of misconduct against me. I was therefore amazed to hear they had unilaterally 'resigned me'." Sixsmith, 24 Feb 2002, Sunday Times.

DISPUTED USAGE: Mr Byers sees it differently, saying: "Martin Sixsmith agreed with Sir Richard Mottram . . . that he, Martin Sixsmith, would resign from his post as director of communications on February 15."

COMPARE WITH: the opposition of "being resigned" may be constructive dismissal, where an employee can claim to have been sacked even when they have not.

PROS: there is a perception, esp. in politics, that resigning instead of being sacked makes it possible to retain one's dignity, keeps your CV clean, and leaves the door open to a return, viz Peter Mandelson resignation (No. I) over house loan.

CONS: "resigning" someone may be more dignified, but if there is not sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify sacking, it may give the resignee powerful feelings of having been wronged, viz Peter Mandelson resignation (No. II) over Hinduja passports.

WIDER USAGE?: inevitably it will not be long until those who have been calling for Mr Byers to be sacked will instead start calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to "resign him".

OTHER CONSIDERATION: how big a step is it from resigning someone to re-signing someone?


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