Senate of Northern Ireland
|Established||7 June 1921|
|Disbanded||30 March 1972|
Lord Glentoran (last)
Sir Jack Andrews (last)
|Elected by the Commons via STV|
|Senate Chamber |
Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast
The Senate of Northern Ireland was the upper house of the Parliament of Northern Ireland created by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 . It was abolished with the passing of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 .
In practice the Senate of Northern Ireland possessed little power and even less influence. While intended as a revising chamber, in practice, debates and votes typically simply replicated those in the Commons.As early as 1926, five years after its creation, calls began for its abolition.
From 1932, when the building was completed, until 1972, the Senate of Northern Ireland met in the Senate Chamber of Parliament Buildings in Stormont on the eastern outskirts of Belfast. To make parallels with the British House of Lords, members of the Senate sat on red benches.
The Senate consisted of 26 members. Twenty-four members elected by the House of Commons of Northern Ireland using the Single Transferable Vote (STV), elected in blocks of twelve with each senator's term lasting for two parliaments (i.e. two terms of the House of Commons) and two ex-officio members: the Lord Mayor of Belfast and Mayor of Londonderry. Convention held that, in the event of a by-election, only members of the Commons from the same county would vote on their replacement.The election system was maintained even after the abolition of STV for the House of Commons.
In 1925, at the end of the first parliament, the senators to retire were selected by lot.At the subsequent election, voting papers from the Nationalist MPs and George Henderson were deemed to have been submitted late, and were not considered. All these members had given a high preference to the Nationalist candidate, Vincent Devoto, and a subsequent analysis of the transfers showed that these would otherwise have been sufficient to elect him.
The key offices in the Senate were:
During its history 142 people sat in the upper house. With the addition of the Unionist Lord Mayor of Belfast Corporation and Mayor of Londonderry Corporation, together with boycotts of the Commons at various times by nationalist parties and fragmentation of the opposition into some parties too small to elect a Senator alone, the upper house proved to be even more heavily Unionist than the lower house. However a Nationalist, Thomas Stanislaus McAllister, served two periods as deputy speaker.
The table below shows the political composition of the twenty-four elected members of the Senate, after each election. It does not show subsequent changes of party allegiance, nor changes resulting from by-elections. Following the 1969 election, there was one vacant seat.Other than Hugh O'Doherty, Mayor of Londonderry until 1923, all the ex officio members were Ulster Unionists.
Peers of the Realm were disproportionately represented in the Senate. Nine Senators were or became peers of the realm at the time of their membership of the Senate. These were the third and fourth Dukes of Abercorn, Viscount Bangor, Viscount Charlemont, the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, Lord Glentoran, the Marquess of Londonderry, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, and Lord Pirrie. Lord Bangor and Lord Charlemont held Irish titles only; Lord Charlemont had been elected as an Irish Representative Peer and so sat in the House of Lords, Lord Bangor however did not. At least another 3 Senators subsequently became peers by different routes. Lord Robert Grosvenor inherited the title of Duke of Westminster from his brother, Sir Basil Brooke was created Viscount Brookeborough and Victor Cooke was created a life peer as Baron Cooke of Islandreagh.
The Senate, along with the House of Commons, was prorogued by the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972, and abolished completely by the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973. The old Senate Chamber is now used as a committee room of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative political party in Northern Ireland. Having gathered support in Ulster, the northern province in Ireland, during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the party governed Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972. It was supported by most unionist voters throughout the conflict known as the Troubles, during which time it was often referred to as the Official Unionist Party (OUP). Between 1905 and 1972, its peers and MPs took the Conservative whip at Westminster, in effect functioning as the Northern Irish branch of the Conservative and Unionist Party. This arrangement came to an end in 1972 over disagreements over the Sunningdale Agreement. The two parties have remained institutionally separate ever since, with the exception of the 2009–2012 Ulster Conservatives and Unionists electoral alliance.
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or (inaccurately) as the Fourth Home Rule Act. The Act was intended to partition Ireland into two self-governing polities: the six north-eastern counties were to form "Northern Ireland", while the larger part of the country was to form "Southern Ireland". Both territories were to remain part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and provision was made for their future reunification through a Council of Ireland. The Act was passed by the British parliament in November 1920, received royal assent in December, and came into force on 3 May 1921.
Southern Ireland was the larger of the two parts of Ireland that were created when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. It comprised 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland or about five-sixths of the area of the island, whilst the remaining six counties in the northeast of the island formed Northern Ireland. Southern Ireland included County Donegal, despite it being the largest county in Ulster and the most northerly county in all of Ireland.
James Craig, 1st Viscount CraigavonPC PC (NI) DL, was a prominent Irish unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1921 until his death in 1940. He was created a baronet in 1918 and raised to the Peerage in 1927.
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore order during The Troubles, resulting in the introduction of Direct Rule. It was abolished under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.
William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, PC, is a British politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) from 1995 to 2005. He was also the Member of Parliament for Upper Bann from 1990 to 2005 and the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Upper Bann from 1998 to 2007. In 2006, he was made a life peer in the House of Lords and a year later left the UUP to join the Conservative Party.
The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) is a liberal and centrist political party in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party, currently holding seven seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, but has made recent breakthroughs to place third in first preference votes in the 2019 European Parliament election and third highest-polling regionally at the 2019 UK general election. The party won one of the three Northern Ireland seats in the European Parliament, and one seat, North Down, in the House of Commons.
James Dawson Chichester-Clark, Baron Moyola, PC, DL was the penultimate Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and eighth leader of the Ulster Unionist Party between 1969 and March 1971. He was Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament for South Londonderry for 12 years, beginning at the by-election to replace his grandmother Dehra Parker in 1960. He stopped being an MP when the Stormont Parliament was suspended and subsequently abolished with the introduction of Direct Rule by the British Government.
Basil Stanlake Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough,, styled Sir Basil Brooke, 5th Baronet between 1907 and 1952, was an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) politician who became the third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in May 1943, holding office until March 1963.
The Parliament of Southern Ireland was a Home Rule legislature established by the British Government during the Irish War of Independence under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. It was designed to legislate for Southern Ireland, a political entity which was created by the British Government to solve the issue of rising Irish nationalism and the issue of partitionism, whilst retaining the whole of Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.
Thomas Gibson Henderson was an Independent unionist politician. He served in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland from 1925 to 1953 in vigorous opposition to the Unionist governments on all issues other than the partition of Ireland, and is famous for having at one stage spoken for nearly ten hours to outline his disagreements.
Independent Unionist has been a label sometimes used by candidates in elections in the United Kingdom, indicating a support for British unionism.
Sir Richard Dawson Bates, 1st Baronet, known as Dawson Bates, was an Ulster Unionist Party member of the Northern Ireland House of Commons.
North Down was a constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.
The House of Commons Act 1929 was an Act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland at Stormont which changed the usual voting system used for the House of Commons of Northern Ireland from single transferable vote (STV) to first past the post (FPTP). As a consequence, the act also subdivided nine of the ten multiple-seat constituencies established by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 into 48 single-seat constituencies. The only exception was the Queen's University constituency, which remained STV until its 1969 abolition. The act was passed in time for the 1929 Stormont election.
Thomas Loftus Cole was a unionist politician in Northern Ireland.