For more than half a century (1921-72), the existence of a devolved parliament in Northern Ireland created a contradiction at the heart of Unionist thought: while proponents of ‘the Union’ championed legislative autonomy in one part of the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), they simultaneously denigrated moves towards devolution in Scotland and Wales on the basis that it might constitute a ‘slippery slope’ towards full ‘separation’. In a new blog from our Making Sense of Parliaments conference Dr David Torrance sheds light on a neglected aspect of broader debates about parliamentary devolution in the UK.
Devolved government in Northern Ireland collapsed in early 2017 and remains suspended, with no resolution in sight. Clare Rice, Queen’s University Belfast, discusses the impact of this institutional hiatus on the Public Accounts Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the scrutiny of public spending.
With no functioning Assembly at Stormont, there have been calls for a reduction or complete cut of salaries for Members of the Legislative Assembly. However, constituency work is continuing in Northern Ireland: Sean Haughey has examined how much constituency service MLAs actually provide, and what it entails.