Constitution of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one; these texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution; the British constitution draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty has been the bedrock of the British legislative constitution.
The statutes passed by Parliament are the supreme and final source of law in the UK. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution by passing new statutes through Acts of Parliament. There has been some debate about whether parliamentary sovereignty remained intact in the light of the UK's membership in the European Union, an argument, used by proponents of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. Another core constitutional principle, the rule of law, is a phrase, popularized by legal scholar Albert Dicey in his 1885 work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, recognized by the British Parliament as a work of authority on the constitution. Acts of Parliament are bills which have received the approval of Parliament – that is, the Monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. On rare occasions, the House of Commons uses the "Parliament Acts" to pass legislation without needing the approval of the House of Lords, it is unheard of in modern times for the Monarch to refuse to assent to a bill, though the possibility was contemplated by George V in relation to the fiercely controversial Government of Ireland Act 1914.
Acts of Parliament are among the most important sources of the constitution. According to the traditional view, Parliament has the power to legislate however it wishes on any subject it wishes. For example, most of the iconic medieval statute known as Magna Carta has been repealed since 1828, despite being regarded as sacrosanct, it has traditionally been the case that the courts are barred from questioning any Act of Parliament, a principle that can be traced back to the medieval period. On the other hand, this principle has not been without its dissidents and critics over the centuries, attitudes among the judiciary in this area may be changing. One consequence of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is that there is no hierarchy among Acts of Parliament: all parliamentary legislation is, in principle, of equal validity and effectiveness. However, the judgment of Lord Justice Laws in the Thoburn case in 2002 indicated that there may be a special class of "constitutional statutes" such as Magna Carta, the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Communities Act 1972, the Acts of Union and Bill of Rights which have a higher status than other legislation.
This part of his judgment was "obiter" – and, was controversial. It remains to be seen. Treaties do not, on ratification, automatically become incorporated into UK law. Important treaties have been incorporated into domestic law by means of Acts of Parliament; the European Convention on Human Rights, for example, was given "further effect" into domestic law through the preamble of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Treaty of Union of 1707 was important in creating the unitary state which exists today; the treaty was between the governments of England and Scotland and was put into effect by two Acts of Union which were passed by the Parliaments of both nations. The Treaty, along with the subsequent Acts, brought into existence the Kingdom of Great Britain, uniting the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. Common law legal systems exist in Northern Ireland and in England and Wales, but not in Scotland which has a hybrid system which includes a great deal of Common Law. Court judgments commonly form a source of the constitution: speaking in English Law, judgments of the higher courts form precedents or case law that binds lower courts and judges.
However Scots Law does not accord the same status to precedent, judgments in one legal system do not have a direct effect in the other legal systems. Important court judgments include those in the Case of Proclamations, the Ship money case and Entick v Carrington, all of which imposed limits on the power of the executive. A constitutional precedent applicable to British colonies is Campbell v Hall, which extended those same constitutional limitations to any territory, granted a representative assembly. Many British constitutional conventions are ancient in origin, though others date from within living memory; such conventions, which include the duty of the Monarch to act on the advice of his or her ministers, are not formally enforceable in a court of law. Most are works written b
Government of Ireland Act 1920
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"; the Act was intended to establish separate Home Rule institutions within two new subdivisions of Ireland: the six north-eastern counties were to form "Northern Ireland", while the larger part of the country was to form "Southern Ireland". Both areas of Ireland were to continue as a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, provision was made for their future reunification under common Home Rule institutions. Home Rule never took effect in Southern Ireland, due to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted instead in the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment in 1922 of the Irish Free State. However, the institutions set up under this Act for Northern Ireland continued to function until they were suspended by the British parliament in 1972 as a consequence of the Troubles; the remaining provisions of the Act still in force in Northern Ireland were repealed under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Various attempts had been made to give Ireland limited regional self-government, known as Home rule, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The First Home Rule Bill of 1886 was defeated in the House of Commons because of a split in the Liberal Party over the principle of Home Rule, while the Second Home Rule Bill of 1893, having been passed by the Commons was vetoed by the House of Lords; the Third Home Rule Bill introduced in 1912 by the Irish Parliamentary Party could no longer be vetoed after the passing of the Parliament Act 1911 which removed the power of the Lords to veto bills. They could be delayed for two years; because of the continuing threat of civil war in Ireland, King George V called the Buckingham Palace Conference in July 1914 where Irish Nationalist and Unionist leaders failed to reach agreement. Controversy continued over the rival demands of Irish Nationalists, backed by the Liberals, Irish Unionists, backed by the Conservatives, for the exclusion of most or all of the province of Ulster.
In an attempt at compromise, the British government put forward an amending bill, which would have allowed for Ulster to be temporarily excluded from the working of the Act. A few weeks after the British entry into the war, the Act received Royal Assent, while the amending bill was abandoned. However, the Suspensory Act 1914 meant that implementation would be suspended for the duration of what was expected to be only a short European war. A delay ensued because of the effective end of the First World War in November 1918, the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, signed in June 1919. Starting in September 1919, with the British Government, now led by David Lloyd George, committed under all circumstances to implementing Home Rule, the British cabinet's Committee for Ireland, under the chairmanship of former Ulster Unionist Party leader Walter Long, pushed for a radical new solution. Long proposed the creation of two Irish home rule entities, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, each with unicameral parliaments.
The House of Lords accordingly amended the old Bill to create a new Bill which provided for two bicameral parliaments, "consisting of His Majesty, the Senate of Ireland, the House of Commons of Ireland." The Bill's second reading debates in late March 1920 revealed that a large number of Irish members of parliament present felt that the proposals were unworkable. After considerable delays in debating the financial aspects of the measure, the substantive third reading of the Bill was approved by a large majority on 11 November 1920. A considerable number of the Irish Members present voted against the Bill, including Southern Unionists such as Maurice Dockrell, Nationalists like Joe Devlin.. During the Great War Irish politics moved decisively in a different direction. Several events, including the Easter Rising of 1916, the subsequent reaction of the British Government, the Conscription Crisis of 1918, had utterly altered the state of Irish Politics, made Sinn Féin the dominant voice of Irish nationalism.
Sinn Féin, standing for'an independent sovereign Ireland', won 73 of the 105 parliamentary seats on the island in the 1918 general election. Its elected members established their own parliament, Dáil Éireann, which declared the country's independence as the Irish Republic. Dáil Éireann, after a number of meetings, was declared illegal in September 1919 by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. For a variety of reasons all the Ulster Unionist MPs at Westminster voted against the Act, they preferred that all or most of Ulster would remain within the United Kingdom, accepting the proposed northern Home Rule state only as the second best option. Thus, when the Act became law on 23 December 1920 it was out of touch with realities in Ireland; the long-standing demand for home rule had been replaced among Nationalists by a demand for complete independence. The Republic's army was waging the Irish War of Independence against British rule, which had reached a nadir in late 1920; the Act divided Ireland into two territories, Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland, each intended to be self-governing, except in areas reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom: chief amongst these were matters relating to the Crown, to defence, foreign affairs, international trad
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
2011 Welsh devolution referendum
The Welsh devolution referendum on law-making powers known as the Referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales, was a non-binding referendum held in Wales on 3 March 2011 on whether the Welsh Assembly should have full law making powers in the twenty subject areas where it has jurisdiction. The referendum asked the question: ‘Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?’ If a majority voted'yes', the Assembly would be able to make laws, known as Acts of the Assembly, on all matters in the subject areas, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement. If a majority voted'no', the arrangements at the time of the referendum would have continued – that is, in each devolved area, the Assembly would be able to make its own laws on some matters, but not others. To make laws on any of these other matters, the Assembly would have had to ask the UK Parliament to transfer the powers to it. Regulations for the referendum, the powers to be approved or rejected by it, were provided for in the Government of Wales Act 2006.
The results of the referendum were announced on 4 March 2011. Overall, 63.49% voted'yes', 36.51% voted'no'. In 21 of 22 local authorities the vote was'yes', with the exception being Monmouthshire by a slim majority; the overall turnout was 35.2%. First Minister Carwyn Jones, welcoming the result, said: "Today an old nation came of age." In the One Wales coalition agreement on 27 June 2007 the Wales Labour Party and Plaid Cymru made the commitment "to proceed to a successful outcome of a referendum for full law-making powers under Part IV of the Government of Wales Act 2006 as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the Assembly term". The two parties agreed "in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum" and to set up an All-Wales Convention to prepare for such a successful outcome. On 27 October 2007 the First Minister Rhodri Morgan and the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones appointed Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the retired Permanent Representative from Britain to the United Nations to head the convention.
Sir Emyr stated on 22 November 2007 that he would like to begin to work as soon as possible and hoped to have the report ready by 2009 at the latest. The All Wales Convention reported to the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister on 18 November 2009, it reported. An opinion poll for the convention had found that 47% would vote Yes, 37% would vote No; the report suggested that the Assembly needed to decide before June 2010 whether to trigger a referendum if the vote was to be held before the next Assembly elections. On 2 February 2010 the new First Minister Carwyn Jones, who had succeeded Rhodri Morgan on 9 December 2009, confirmed that a trigger vote would be held on 9 February on whether the Assembly should request a referendum on full law making powers; the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Welsh Conservative Party stated they did not want the referendum to be held on the same day as the 2011 Assembly elections and would abstain from voting to trigger the referendum if this date was not ruled out.
The trigger vote was held in the Assembly on Tuesday 9 February 2010, was approved unanimously across all parties, with 53 out of the 60 AMs voting for it. Under the Government of Wales Act 2006 the First Minister was required to send a letter within two weeks to the Welsh Secretary, who would have 120 days to lay a draft order for a referendum before Parliament, it was expected. On 15 June 2010 Cheryl Gillan, the new Welsh Secretary in the Conservative--Liberal Democrat coalition government at Westminster, announced that the referendum would be held between January and March 2011. Others proposed that it should be held on 5 May 2011, together with both the Assembly elections and the AV referendum, it was agreed that the referendum be held on 3 March 2011, after representations to the Welsh Secretary from the Welsh Government. The draft referendum question submitted by the Welsh Secretary to the Electoral Commission on 23 June 2010 was: At present, the National Assembly for Wales has powers to make laws for Wales on some subjects within devolved areas.
Devolved areas include health, social services, local government and environment. The Assembly can gain further powers to make laws in devolved areas with the agreement of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on a subject by subject basis. If most people vote'yes' in this referendum, the Assembly will gain powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas. If most people vote'no' the present arrangements, which transfer that law-making power bit by bit, with the agreement of Parliament each time, will continue. Do you agree that the Assembly should now have powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas without needing the agreement of Parliament first? This wording was, criticised by the Welsh Government. A revised question was released in September 2010: The National Assembly for Wales - what happens at the moment The Assembly has powers to make laws on 20 subject areas, such as agriculture, the environment, housing, local government. In each subject area, the Assembly can make laws on some matters, but not others.
To make laws on any of these other matters, the assembly must ask the UK Parliament for its agreement. The UK Parliament decides each time whether or not the assembly can make these laws; the Assembly cannot make laws on subject areas such as defence, tax or welfare benefits, whatever the result of this vote. If most voters vote'yes' - the Assembly will be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 s
Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area. Devolution differs from federalism in that the devolved powers of the subnational authority may be temporary and are reversible residing with the central government. Thus, the state remains de jure unitary. Legislation creating devolved parliaments or assemblies can be repealed or amended by central government in the same way as any statute. In federal systems, by contrast, sub-unit government is guaranteed in the constitution, so the powers of the sub-units cannot be withdrawn unilaterally by the central government; the sub-units therefore have a lower degree of protection under devolution than under federalism. Australia is a federation, it has two territories with less power than states. The Australian Capital Territory refused self-government in a 1978 referendum, but was given limited self-government by a House of Assembly from 1979, a Legislative Assembly with wider powers in 1988.
The Northern Territory of Australia refused statehood in a 1998 referendum. The rejection was a surprise to both the Northern Territory governments. Territory legislation can be disallowed by the Commonwealth Parliament in Canberra, with one notable example being the NT's short lived voluntary euthanasia legislation. Although Canada is a federal state, a large portion of its land mass in the north is under the legislative jurisdiction of the federal government; this has been the case since 1870. In 1870 the Rupert’s Land and North-Western Territory Order effected the admission of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory to Canada, pursuant to section 146 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Rupert’s Land Act, 1868; the Manitoba Act, 1870, which created Manitoba out of part of Rupert’s Land designated the remaining territories the Northwest Territories, over which Parliament was to exercise full legislative authority under the Constitution Act, 1871. Since the 1970s, the federal government has been transferring its decision-making powers to northern governments.
This means greater local control and accountability by northerners for decisions central to the future of the territories. Yukon was carved from the Northwest Territories in 1898 but it remained a federal territory. Subsequently, in 1905, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created from the Northwest Territories. Other portions of Rupert's Land were added to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, extending the provinces northward from their previous narrow band around the St. Lawrence and lower Great Lakes; the District of Ungava was a regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories from 1895 to 1912. The continental areas of said district were transferred by the Parliament of Canada with the adoption of the Quebec Boundary Extension Act, 1898 and the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act, 1912; the status of the interior of Labrador, believed part of Ungava was settled in 1927 by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which ruled in favour of Newfoundland.
In 1999, the federal government created Nunavut pursuant to a land claim agreement reached with Inuit, the indigenous people of Canada’s Eastern Arctic. The offshore islands to the west and north of Quebec remained part of the Northwest Territories until the creation of Nunavut in 1999. Since that time, the federal government has devolved legislative jurisdiction to the territories. Enabling the territories to become more self-sufficient and prosperous and to play a stronger role in the Canadian federation is considered a key component to development in Canada’s North. Among the three territories, devolution is most advanced in Yukon; the Northwest Territories was governed from Ottawa from 1870 until the 1970s, except for the brief period between 1898 and 1905 when it was governed by an elected assembly. The Carrothers Commission was established in April 1963 by the government of Lester B. Pearson to examine the development of government in the NWT, it conducted surveys of opinion in the NWT in 1965 and 1966 and reported in 1966.
Major recommendations included that the seat of government of the territories should be located in the territories. Yellowknife was selected as the territorial capital as a result. Transfer of many responsibilities from the federal government to that of the territories was recommended and carried out; this included responsibility for education, small business, public works, social services and local government. Since the report, the transfer of the government of Northwest Territories has taken over responsibilities for several other programs and services including the delivery of health care, social services, administration of airports, forestry management; the legislative jurisdiction of the territorial legislature is set out in section 16 of the Northwest Territories Act. Now, the government of Canada is negotiating the transfer of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development's remaining provincial-type responsibilities in the NWT; these include the legislative powers and responsibilities for land and resources associated with the department's Northern Affairs Program with respect to: Powers to develop, conserve and regulate of surface and subsurface natural resources in the NWT for mining and minerals administration, water management, land management and environmental management.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
The Anglo-Irish Treaty known as The Treaty and the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of Independence. It provided for the establishment of the Irish Free State within a year as a self-governing dominion within the "community of nations known as the British Empire", a status "the same as that of the Dominion of Canada", it provided Northern Ireland, created by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, an option to opt out of the Irish Free State, which it exercised. The agreement was signed in London on 6 December 1921, by representatives of the British government and by representatives of the Irish Republic including Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith; the Irish representatives had plenipotentiary status acting on behalf of the Irish Republic, though the British government declined to recognise that status.
As required by its terms, the agreement was approved by "a meeting" of the members elected to sit in the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and by the British Parliament. In reality, Dáil Éireann first debated approved the treaty. Though the treaty was narrowly approved, the split led to the Irish Civil War, won by the pro-treaty side; the Irish Free State as contemplated by the treaty came into existence when its constitution became law on 6 December 1922 by a royal proclamation. Among the treaty's main clauses were that: Crown forces would withdraw from most of Ireland. Ireland was to become a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, a status shared by Australia, Newfoundland, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa; as with the other dominions, the King would be the Head of State of the Irish Free State and would be represented by a Governor General. Members of the new free state's parliament would be required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Free State. A secondary part of the oath was to "be faithful to His Majesty King George V, His heirs and successors by law, in virtue of the common citizenship".
Northern Ireland would have the option of withdrawing from the Irish Free State within one month of the Treaty coming into effect. If Northern Ireland chose to withdraw, a Boundary Commission would be constituted to draw the boundary between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. Britain, for its own security, would continue to control a limited number of ports, known as the Treaty Ports, for the Royal Navy; the Irish Free State would assume responsibility for a proportionate part of the United Kingdom's debt, as it stood on the date of signature. The treaty would have superior status in Irish law, i.e. in the event of a conflict between it and the new 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State, the treaty would take precedence. The negotiators included: Providing Secretarial AssistanceRobert Barton was the last surviving signatory, he died on 10 August 1975 at the age of 94. Notably, the President of the Irish Republic Éamon de Valera did not attend. Winston Churchill held two different roles in the British cabinet during the process of Irish independence: until February 1921 he had been Secretary of State for War hoping to end the Irish War of Independence.
Erskine Childers, the author of the Riddle of the Sands and former Clerk of the British House of Commons, served as one of the secretaries of the Irish delegation. Tom Jones was one of Lloyd George's principal assistants, described the negotiations in his book Whitehall Diary. Éamon de Valera sent the Irish plenipotentiaries to the 1921 negotiations in London with several draft treaties and secret instructions from his cabinet. Pointedly the British side never asked to see their formal accreditation with the full status of plenipotentiaries, but considered that it had invited them as elected MPs: "...to ascertain how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations". This invitation in August had been delayed for over a month by a correspondence in which de Valera argued that Britain was now negotiating with a sovereign state, a position Lloyd George continually denied. In the meantime, de Valera had been elevated to President of the Republic on 26 August to be able to accredit plenipotentiaries for the negotiations, as is usual between sovereign states.
On 14 September all the Dáil speakers unanimously commented that the plenipotentiaries were being sent to represent the sovereign Irish Republic, accepted de Valera's nominations without dissent, although some argued that de Valera himself should attend the conference. On 18 September Lloyd George recalled that: From the outset of our conversations I told you that we looked to Ireland to own allegiance to the Throne, to make her future as a member of the British Commonwealth; that was the basis of our proposals, we cannot alter it. The status which you now claim in advance for your delegates is, in effect, a repudiation of that basis. I am prepared to meet your delegates as I met you in July, in the capacity of'chosen spokesmen' for yo