The Info List - Third Home Rule Bill

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The Government of Ireland
Act 1914 (4 & 5 Geo. 5 c. 90), also known as the Home Rule Act, and before enactment as the Third Home Rule Bill, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to provide home rule (self-government within the United Kingdom) for Ireland. It was the third such bill introduced by a Liberal government in a 28-year period in response to the Irish Home Rule movement. The Act was the first law ever passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom that sought to establish a devolved government in any part of the UK. However, the implementation of both it and the equally controversial Welsh Church Act 1914
Welsh Church Act 1914
was formally postponed for a minimum of twelve months with the outbreak of the First World War. The continuation of the war beyond 1915 and subsequent developments in Ireland
led to further postponements, meaning that the Act never took effect; it was finally superseded by a fourth home rule bill, enacted as the Government of Ireland
Act 1920, which partitioned Ireland, creating Northern Ireland
and Southern Ireland, both intended to have Home Rule.


1 Background 2 The Bill 3 Ulster
crisis 4 Partition 5 The passing of the Bill 6 Notes 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Background[edit] In 1909, a constitutional crisis arose when the House of Lords rejected David Lloyd George's Finance Bill. Two general elections took place in January and December 1910, both of which left the Liberals and Conservatives equally matched, with John Redmond's Irish Parliamentary Party holding the balance of power in the House of Commons. The Irish Party, which had campaigned for home rule for Ireland
since the 1870s, pledged to support the Liberals in return for the introduction of a home rule bill.[1] The Parliament Act 1911 replaced the unlimited veto of the Lords with one lasting only two years, ensuring that a bill passed by the Commons could not be blocked for more than two years.[1] The Bill[edit]

Third Home Rule Act

Name and origin

Official name of legislation Government of Ireland
Act, 1914

Location United Kingdom

Year 1914

Government introduced Asquith (Liberal)

Parliamentary passage

House of Commons passed? Yes

House of Lords
House of Lords
passed? No; passed under Parliament Act 1911

Royal Assent? Yes


Which House House of Lords
House of Lords
3 times (over-ruled)

Which stage -

Final vote -

Date 1912, 1913, 1914 (over-ruled)

Details of legislation

Legislature type bicameral

Unicameral subdivision none

Name(s) upper: House of Lords; lower: House of Commons

Size(s) House of Lords: 40 House of Commons: 164 members

MPs in Westminster 42 MPs

Executive head Lord Lieutenant

Executive body Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Ireland

Prime Minister in text none

Responsible executive no


Act implemented not implemented

Succeeded by Government of Ireland
Act 1920

The Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith, introduced the Bill on 11 April 1912.[2] Allowing more autonomy than its two predecessors, the bill provided for:

A bicameral Irish Parliament to be set up in Dublin
(a 40-member Senate and a 164-member House of Commons) with powers to deal with most national affairs; A number of Irish MPs would continue to sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(42 MPs, rather than 103). The abolition of Dublin
Castle administration, though with the retention of the Lord Lieutenant.

The financial situation was a concern. Irish taxes had yielded a surplus of £2 million in 1893, that had turned into a current spending net deficit of £1.5m by 1910 that had to be raised by London. An annual "Transferred Sum" mechanism was proposed to maintain spending in Ireland
as it was.[3] The Bill was passed by the Commons by a majority of 10 votes in 1912 but the House of Lords
House of Lords
rejected it 326 votes to 69 in January 1913. In 1913 it was reintroduced and again passed by the Commons but was again rejected by the Lords by 302 votes to 64. In 1914 after the third reading, the Bill was passed by the Commons on 25 May 1914 by a majority of 77. Having been defeated a third time in the Lords, the Government used the provisions of the Parliament Act to override the Lords and send it for Royal Assent. Ulster
crisis[edit] Main article: Home Rule Crisis Unionists in Ulster
were opposed to a home-rule Ireland
governed from Dublin. the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, and Derry were the counties in refusal of the Home Rule Bill. A growing hostility and even violence could be seen in the areas [4] Early in 1912, they began forming small local militias. By April 1912, the Irish Unionist leader, Sir Edward Carson, could review 100,000 marching Ulster Volunteers. On 28 September 1912, over 500,000 Unionists signed the Ulster Covenant
Ulster Covenant
pledging to defy Home Rule by all means possible. The Covenant was drawn up by Carson and organised by Sir James Craig.[5] This Covenant specifically pledged not to acknowledge any Parliament out of Dublin, to obey its laws, or pay any taxes placed under its government. This would be problematic especially since Ulster
was the wealthiest and most prosperous part of Ireland.[6] In January 1913, the Unionist Council reorganised their volunteers into a paramilitary Ulster
Volunteer Force (UVF), whose members threatened to resist by physical force the implementation of the Act and the authority of any restored Dublin
Parliament by force of arms.[7] On 28 November 1913, Irish Nationalists responded by setting up the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
"to secure the rights and liberties common to all the people of Ireland"[8] The government's ability to face down the Unionist threat was thrown into question by the "Curragh Incident" of 20 March 1914, when British Army officers tendered their resignations rather than fight the Ulster
Volunteers, forcing a climb-down by the government.[9] This would result in the Easter rebellion in 1916 when Dublin
would be a battlefield for a week. This rebellion would have a big effect on the Home Rule passage and many Home Rulers would be upset by this dark event.[10] Partition[edit] At the Bill's third reading in the Commons on 21 May 1914 several members asked about a proposal to exclude the whole of Ulster
for six years. Asquith was seeking any solution that would avoid a civil war. During the emotional debate which lasted until 25 May 1914, Sir Edward Carson made the statement:

"I say this to my Nationalist fellow-countrymen, and indeed also to the Government, you have never tried to win over Ulster. You have never tried to understand her position. You have never alleged, and you cannot allege, that this Bill gives her one atom of advantage." [11]

A government amending bill was introduced in the House of Lords
House of Lords
on 23 June 1914 (before it had considered the original bill itself) and passed there with amendments on 8 July.[12][13][14][15] Carson and the Irish Unionist Party
Irish Unionist Party
(mostly Ulster
MPs) backed the amending bill, which envisaged "temporary exclusion of Ulster" from the workings of the future Act. The Lords' amendments to the amending bill were unacceptable to the government.[14] What was still to be negotiated were the number of counties excluded (four, six or nine) and whether exclusion would be temporary or permanent. The compromise proposed by Asquith was straightforward. Six counties in northeast Ulster
were to be excluded "temporarily" from the territory of the new Irish parliament and government, and to continue to be governed as before from Westminster and Whitehall. How temporary the exclusion would be, and whether northeastern Ireland
would eventually be governed by the Irish parliament and government, remained an issue of some controversy. To save endless debate in parliament, George V
George V
called the Buckingham Palace Conference
Buckingham Palace Conference
with two MPs from each of the British Liberal and Conservative parties, and two each from the nationalists and unionists. The conference, held between 21 and 24 July 1914, achieved very little.[16] The passing of the Bill[edit]

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With the outbreak of World War I
World War I
on 4 August 1914, Asquith decided to abandon his Amending Bill, and instead rushed through a new bill the Suspensory Act 1914
Suspensory Act 1914
which was presented for Royal Assent simultaneously with both the Government of Ireland
Act 1914 and the Welsh Church Act 1914. Although the two controversial Bills had now finally reached the statute books on 18 September 1914, the Suspensory Act ensured that Home Rule would be postponed for the duration of the conflict[17] and would not come into operation until the end of the war.[18][19] The Ulster
question was 'solved' in the same way: through the promise of amending legislation which was left undefined.[17] After the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
of 1916, two attempts were made by Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
H. H. Asquith
during the First World War
First World War
to implement the Act. The first attempt came in June 1916, when David Lloyd George, then Minister for Munitions, was sent to Dublin
to offer immediate implementation to the leaders of the Irish Party, Redmond and Dillon. The scheme revolved around partition,[20] officially a temporary arrangement, as understood by Redmond. Lloyd George however gave the Ulster
leader, Carson, a written guarantee that Ulster
would not be forced into a self-governing Ireland. His tactic was to see that neither side would find out before a compromise was implemented.[21] A modified Act of 1914 had been drawn up by the Cabinet on 17 June. The Act had two amendments enforced by Unionists on 19 July – permanent exclusion and a reduction of Ireland’s representation in the Commons. When informed by Lloyd George on 22 July 1916, Redmond accused the government of treachery. This was decisive in sealing the future fortunes of the Home Rule movement. Asquith made a second attempt to implement Home Rule in 1917, with the calling of the Irish Convention chaired by Horace Plunkett. This consisted of Nationalist and Unionist representatives who, by April 1918, only succeeded in agreeing a report with an 'understanding' on recommendations for the establishment of self-government. The end of the war, in November 1918, was followed in Ireland
by the December 1918 general election, the majority of seats being won by the republican separatist Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
party, then in January 1919 by the Irish War of Independence, so that the Act was never implemented. The future of Home Rule was determined by the Government of Ireland
Act 1920. It established Northern Ireland, with a functional government, and Southern Ireland, whose governmental institutions never fully functioned. Southern Ireland, following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, became the Irish Free State. Notes[edit]

^ a b James F. Lydon, The Making of Ireland: From Ancient Times to the Present, Routledge, 1998, p. 326 ^ Hansard
online, start of the debate 11 April 1912; accessed 20 January 2009 ^ Future financial arrangements, Hansard
11 April 1912 – accessed 20 January 2009 ^ Shepard, Walter James. "The Government of Ireland
Home Rule Bill". American Political Science Review. 6 (4): 564–573.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Stewart, A.T.Q., The Ulster
Crisis, Resistance to Home Rule, 1912–14, pp.58–68, Faber and Faber (1967) ISBN 0-571-08066-9 ^ Shepard, Walter James. "The Government of Ireland
Home Rule Bill". The American Political Science Review. 6 (4): 564–573. Retrieved 3 November 2017.  ^ Stewart (1967), pp.69–78 ^ Annie Ryan, Witnesses: Inside the Easter Rising, Liberties Press, 2005, p. 12 ^ Holmes, Richard (2004). The Little Field Marshal: A Life of Sir John French. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 178–89. ISBN 0-297-84614-0.  ^ Morton, Grenfell (1980). Home Rule and the Irish Question. p. 63.  ^ Gwynn, Denis: The Life of John Redmond
John Redmond
p.255, Harper & Co,, London (1932) ^ O'Day, Alan; Fleming, N. C. (2014-06-11). Longman Handbook of Modern Irish History Since 1800. Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 9781317897118. Retrieved 2 December 2016.  ^ "Government of Ireland
Bill; Amending Bill". Hansard. 29 June 1914. HC Deb vol 64 cc30–1. Retrieved 2 December 2016.  ^ a b Jennings, Ivor (1957). Parliament (2nd ed.). CUP Archive. p. 427.  ^ HC Bill 326: Government of Ireland
(Amendment) Bill [H.L.]. Sessional papers. 1914 HC 3 59. London: HMSO. 15 July 1914.  ^ Jackson, Alvin: pp.161–63 ^ a b Jackson, Alvin: p.164 ^ Hennessey, Thomas: Dividing Ireland, World War I
World War I
and Partition, The passing of the Home Rule Bill p.76, Routledge Press (1998) ISBN 0-415-17420-1 ^ Eventually Home Rule was considered by the Irish Convention
Irish Convention
in 1917–18, and by the cabinet from September 1919; the Welsh Church Act was delayed until March 1920. ^ Headings of a settlement as to the Government of Ireland. Command papers. Cd.8310. HMSO. 1916. Retrieved 11 September 2016.  ^ Maume, Patrick: The long Gestation, Irish Nationalist Life 1891–1918, pp.182–84, Gill & Macmillan (1999) ISBN 0-7171-2744-3

See also[edit]

Sir Edward Carson John Redmond John Dillon William O'Brien Parliament of Southern Ireland Parliament of Northern Ireland Solemn League and Covenant (Ulster) Unionists (Ireland) Devolution Curragh incident Easter Rising Irish Government Bill 1886
Irish Government Bill 1886
(First Irish Home Rule Bill) Gladstone's Irish Home Rule speech (beseech in its favour) Irish Government Bill 1893 (Second Irish Home Rule Bill) Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 Parliament Act 1911 Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
(Fourth Irish Home Rule Bill) History of the Republic of Ireland History of Ireland


Hennessey, Thomas: Dividing Ireland, World War 1 and Partition, (1998), ISBN 0-415-17420-1. Jackson, Alvin: HOME RULE, an Irish History 1800–2000, (2003), ISBN 0-7538-1767-5. Lewis, Geoffrey: Carson, the Man who divided Ireland
(2005), ISBN 1-85285-454-5 Lee, JJ: Ireland
1912–1985 (1989), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-37741-2 Smith, Jeremy: Bluff, Bluster and Brinkmanship: Andrew Bonar Law and the Third Home Rule Bill pages 161–74 from Historical Journal, Volume 36, Issue #1, 1993. Kee, Robert: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (2000 edition, first published 1972), ISBN 0-14-029165-2. Rodner, W. S.: Leaguers, Covenanters, Moderates: British Support for Ulster, 1913–14 pages 68–85 from Éire—Ireland, Volume 17, Issue #3, 1982. Stewart, A.T.Q.: The Ulster
Crisis, Resistance to Home Rule, 1912–14, (Faber and Faber, London, 1967, 1979), ISBN 0-571-08066-9 Government of Ireland
Act 1914, available from the House of Lords Record Office "Home Rule Finance" Arthur Samuels KC (1912) Text online at Archive.org Erskine Childers; The Framework of Home Rule. Text online at Gutenberg.org

External links[edit]

Matches in Hansard:

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Act 1914 "Government of Ireland
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