Wales is a country, part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Bristol Channel to the south, it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit; the country has a changeable, maritime climate. Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century; the whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector and service industries and tourism. Although Wales shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as an expression of national consciousness; the English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same Germanic root, itself derived from the name of the Gaulish people known to the Romans as Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all non-Germanic peoples. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Britons in particular, Wēalas when referring to their lands; the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. In Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons, as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the walnut.
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen"; the use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh; the word came into use as a self-description before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples and was the more common literary term until c. 1200. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh.
Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains, the newspaper Cambrian News, the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name Cumbria in North West England, once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd; the Cumbric language, thought to
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP campaigns for Scottish independence, it is the second-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and ahead of the Conservative Party. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since November 2014. Founded in 1934 with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representation in Westminster since Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election. With the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second-largest party, serving two terms as the opposition; the SNP gained power at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 Parliament election, after which it formed Holyrood's first majority government. It was reduced back to a minority government at the 2016 election.
The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. The SNP currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance group; the SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance. The party does not have any members of the House of Lords, as it has always maintained a position of objecting to an unelected upper house; the SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as its first president. Professor Douglas Young, the leader of the Scottish National Party from 1942 to 1945 campaigned for the Scottish people to refuse conscription and his activities were popularly vilified as undermining the British war effort against the Axis powers. Young was imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted; the SNP first won a parliamentary seat at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at the general election three months later.
They next won a seat in 1967, when Winnie Ewing was the surprise winner of a by-election in the safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission; the SNP hit a high point in the October 1974 general election, polling a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. This success was not surpassed until the 2015 general election. However, the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 General election, followed by a further drop at the 1983 election. In the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary general election, the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond became Scottish First Minister; the Scottish Green Party supported Salmond's election as First Minister, his subsequent appointments of ministers, in return for early tabling of the climate change bill and the SNP nominating a Green MSP to chair a parliamentary committee.
In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats. This was a significant feat as the additional member system used for Scottish Parliament elections was designed to prevent one party from winning an outright majority. Based on their 2011 majority, the SNP government held a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014; the "No" vote prevailed in a close-fought campaign, prompting the resignation of First Minister Alex Salmond. Forty-five percent of Scottish voters cast their ballots for independence, with the "Yes" side receiving less support than late polling predicted; the SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the UK general election in May 2015, led by Salmond's successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56 at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty-nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate. BBC News described the historic result as a "Scots landslide".
At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP lost a net total of 6 seats, losing its overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, but returning for a third consecutive term as a minority government. The party gained an additional 1.1% of the constituency vote from the 2011 election, losing 2.3% of the regional list vote. On the constituency vote, the SNP gained 11 seats from Labour, but lost the Edinburgh Southern constituency to the party; the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each gained two constituency seats from the SNP on 2011. At the United Kingdom general election, 2017 the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Westminster MPs down to 35; this was attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney, to their stance on holding a second Scottish independence referendum and saw a swing to the Unionist parties, with seats being picked up by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and a reduction in their majorities in the other seats.
Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, came o
Welsh Labour is the part of the United Kingdom Labour Party that operates in Wales. Labour is the largest and most successful political party in modern Welsh politics, having won the largest share of the vote at every UK General Election since 1922, every Welsh Assembly election since 1999, each European Parliament election from 1979 until 2004, as well as the 2014 one; the Labour Party in Wales has 1 of 4 Welsh seats in the European Parliament, 28 of 40 Welsh seats in the UK Parliament, 29 of 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales, 576 of 1,264 principal local authority councillors, including overall control of 10 of 22 Welsh local authorities. Welsh Labour is formally part of the Labour Party, it is neither separately registered with the Electoral Commission under the terms of the Political Parties and Referendums Act. In 2016, the Labour Party Conference voted for the office of leader of Welsh Labour to exist. Welsh Labour has autonomy in policy formulation for those areas now devolved to the Welsh Assembly, as well as candidate selection for that body.
Party objectives are set by the Welsh Executive Committee, which performs a similar function to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee in respect of devolved responsibilities. The Welsh Executive Committee is made up of representatives from each section of the party - government, MPs, AMs, MEPs, trade unions and Constituency Labour Parties; each of Wales's 40 CLPs are registered as accounting units with the Electoral Commission. The party's headquarters in Cardiff organise the party's election campaigns at all levels of government, support the CLPs and branches in membership matters and perform secretarial functions to the National Assembly Labour Party and the party's policy-making process, they organise the annual conference, provide legal and constitutional advice, arbitrate certain disciplinary matters. Keir Hardie, the first leader of the Independent Labour Party, was elected as member for Merthyr Tydfil in 1900, when the National Union of Mineworkers affiliated to the party in 1908, their four sponsored Welsh MPs became Labour MPs.
Over the next few years there was a steady increase in the number of Labour councillors and MPs in Wales, in 1922, Labour won half the Welsh parliamentary seats - setting the scene for the party's hegemony in Welsh politics over coming decades. Although efforts were made as early as 1911 to establish a Welsh version of the Independent Labour Party, it was not until May 1947, with the merger of the South Wales Regional Council of Labour and the constituency parties of north and mid Wales, that an all-Wales unit of the Labour Party was formed; the formation of the new organisation reflected the consolidation of industrial and trade union power under Clement Attlee's 1945–1951 Government. The experience of the depression of the 1930s - when Welsh industry was hard hit - had led Labour to develop an alaysis in which the Welsh economy was to be planned and structured on a national basis. An all-Wales party structure was created to reflect this re-alignment; the commensurate changes in the machinery of government were not implemented until much reflecting a persistent ambivalence within Labour about "the National question".
Welsh Labour's predecessor bodies bequeathed it a formidable electoral inheritance, upon which it was to build still further. In the 1945 General Election the party won 25 of the 36 Welsh constituencies, gaining some 58% of the popular vote. Despite a swing away from Labour in the 1950 and 1951 General Elections in Britain as a whole, Welsh Labour gained both seats and vote share, pursuing a strategy of extending its appeal from its industrial base in the south and north east of Wales into the rural and Welsh speaking areas where the Liberal Party remained strong. Despite remaining in opposition at Westminster throughout the 1950s, Welsh Labour polled in excess of 50% of the popular vote at each General Election, stacking up impregnable majorities in its south Wales valleys heartlands. Aneurin Bevan, for example, was returned to Parliament with 80% of the vote of his Ebbw Vale constituency, a pattern repeated to a greater or lesser extent in some 15 seats throughout the area. Welsh Labour showed itself, both by its actions in local government and by its proposals for central government to be a practical, modernising party committed to investment in infrastructure, serious about providing jobs and improving public services.
At the 1964 General Election Welsh Labour won 28 seats in Wales. The Wilson government gave Welsh Labour the opportunity to enact its long-standing promise to create the post of Secretary of State for Wales and a Welsh Office; the pattern of electoral hegemony seemed set to continue into the 1960s. At the 1966 General Election Welsh Labour's share topped 60%, gaining it all but 4 of Wales's 36 Parliamentary constituencies. Within three months, Gwynfor Evans sensationally captured Carmarthen for Plaid Cymru at a by-election, the Nationalists came within a whisker of victory at the 1967 Rhondda West and 1968 Caerphilly by-elections, achieving huge swings against Labour of 30% and 40% respectively; the emergence of Plaid Cymru prompted the Wilson Government to establish the Kilbrandon Commi
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952; the monarch and their immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours and appointing the Prime Minister; the monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. Though the ultimate executive authority over the government is still formally by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent; the British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms of early medieval Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland by the 10th century.
England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, after which Wales too came under control of Anglo-Normans. The process was completed in the 13th century when the Principality of Wales became a client state of the English kingdom. Meanwhile, Magna Carta began a process of reducing the English monarch's political powers. From 1603, the English and Scottish kingdoms were ruled by a single sovereign. From 1649 to 1660, the tradition of monarchy was broken by the republican Commonwealth of England, which followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; the Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Roman Catholics, or those who married them, from succession to the English throne. In 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland joined to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the British monarch was the nominal head of the vast British Empire, which covered a quarter of the world's surface at its greatest extent in 1921. In the early 1920s the Balfour Declaration recognised the evolution of the Dominions of the Empire into separate, self-governing countries within a Commonwealth of Nations.
After the Second World War, the vast majority of British colonies and territories became independent bringing the Empire to an end. George VI and his successor, Elizabeth II, adopted the title Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the free association of its independent member states; the United Kingdom and fifteen other independent sovereign states that share the same person as their monarch are called Commonwealth realms. Although the monarch is shared, each country is sovereign and independent of the others, the monarch has a different and official national title and style for each realm. In the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch is the head of state; the Queen's image is used to signify British sovereignty and government authority—her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, her portrait in government buildings. The sovereign is further both mentioned in and the subject of songs, loyal toasts, salutes. "God Save the Queen" is the British national anthem. Oaths of allegiance are made to her lawful successors.
The monarch takes little direct part in government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the monarch, either by statute or by convention, to ministers or officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the monarch personally, thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments if performed by the monarch, such as the Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, depend upon decisions made elsewhere: Legislative power is exercised by the Queen-in-Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Executive power is exercised by Her Majesty's Government, which comprises ministers the prime minister and the Cabinet, technically a committee of the Privy Council, they have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, the Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services. Judicial power is vested in the various judiciaries of the United Kingdom, who by constitution and statute have judicial independence of the Government.
The Church of England, of which the monarch is the head, has its own legislative and executive structures. Powers independent of government are granted to other public bodies by statute or Statutory Instrument such as an Order in Council, Royal Commission or otherwise; the sovereign's role as a constitutional monarch is limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours. This role has been recognised since the 19th century; the constitutional writer Walter Bagehot identified the monarchy in 1867 as the "dignified part" rather than the "efficient part" of government. Whenever necessary, the monarch is responsible for appointing a new prime minister. In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Commons the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House; the prime minister takes office by attending the monarch in private audience, after "kissing hands" that appointment is effective without any other f
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
The intention of the la
2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election
The 2017 election to the Northern Ireland Assembly was held on 2 March 2017. The election was held to elect members following the resignation of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in protest over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. McGuinness' position was not filled, thus by law his resignation triggered an election, it was the sixth election since the Assembly was re-established in 1998, the first to implement a reduction in size to 90 MLAs. 1,254,709 people were registered to vote in the election. 64.78% of registered voters turned out to vote in the 2017 Assembly election, up 10 percentage points from the previous Assembly election held in 2016, but 5 percentage points less than in the first election to the Assembly held in 1998. Eight parties had MLAs in the fifth assembly: the Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Greens, People Before Profit, Traditional Unionist Voice.
There was one Independent Unionist MLA. Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced in 2013 that the next Assembly election would be postponed to May 2016, would be held at fixed intervals of five years thereafter. Section 7 of the Northern Ireland Act 2014 specifies that elections will be held on the first Thursday in May in the fifth calendar year following that in which its predecessor was elected, which after 2016 was to be 6 May 2021. However, by virtue of section 31 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, there are several circumstances in which the Assembly can be dissolved before the date scheduled. Martin McGuinness, the deputy First Minister, resigned on 9 January 2017 in protest at the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal and other issues, such as the DUP's failure to support funding for inquests into killings during The Troubles and for an Irish language project; the First Minister, Arlene Foster, had been in charge of the RHI scheme in her previous ministerial position, but had refused to temporarily stand down as First Minister while an enquiry took place.
Under the power-sharing arrangement, McGuinness' resignation as deputy First Minister meant that Foster automatically lost office as First Minister. The DUP condemned his resignation. Sinn Féin had seven days, until 5 pm on 16 January 2017, in which to nominate a new deputy First Minister, but refused to do so in the Assembly plenary on 16 January; as a result the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, confirmed the same day that a snap election would be held on 2 March. McGuinness subsequently announced that, owing to ill-health, he would not be seeking re-election to the Assembly, he was replaced by Michelle O'Neill as leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Nominations opened on 27 January 2017 for the assembly election and closed on 8 February 2017. A total of 228 candidates contested the 90 available seats in the Assembly, a reduction from the 276 who contested the 108 seats available in 2016; the table below lists all of the nominated candidates. Candidates for the same party in a constituency are listed in alphabetical order, the order they appeared on the ballot paper.
Gerry Mullan, an MLA for the SDLP before the dissolution, stood as an independent after having been deselected by the party. Jonathan Bell, suspended from the DUP, was standing as an independent. Both failed to get elected; the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal remained central in the campaign. Sinn Féin said they would not return to government with the DUP while questions over RHI remain over the DUP's leader, Foster. There were concerns about deteriorating cross-community relationships. If the two parties emerged as the largest in their communities and could not resolve the issue, direct rule by the UK government could be imposed; the UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt, promoted the possibility of a UUP/SDLP administration. He said he would give his voting preference after the UUP candidates to the SDLP, although he said he would not tell UUP voters what to do with their preferences. Other UUP candidates opposed the action, saying they will give preferences to other unionist candidates over the SDLP, one UUP councillor resigned from the party in protest.
The DUP criticised Nesbitt's position and campaigned arguing that splitting the unionist vote could help Sinn Féin come out as the largest party. Brexit was an issue. In the UK-wide referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016, 56% of voters in Northern Ireland voted to "Remain" a member of the European Union while 44% voted to "Leave"; the DUP supported the UK leaving the EU, while nationalist parties and most others opposed, fearing among other things the possibility of a hard border resulting with the Republic of Ireland. It became known during the campaign that the DUP spent £282,000 on a pro-Brexit advert in a newspaper that did not appear in Northern Ireland; the money came from the Constitutional Research Council, a minor pro-union group chaired by the former vice-chair of the Scottish Conservative Party Richard Cook. The Alliance Party campaigned on their opposition to sectarianism. People Before Profit focused on their opposition to austerity. Psephologist Nicholas Whyte estimated the result in the 2016 election had it been fought with 5-seat constituencies rather than six-seat constituencies.
This table shows the different result, compares the actual result in 2017 to this notional result. Party affiliation of the five Assembly members returned by each constituency; the first column indicates the party of the Member of the House of Commons (MP