The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature created under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, which existed from 1921 (when the first parliament assembled) to 1972, when it was suspended. (It was subsequently abolished under the Constitution of Northern Ireland Act 1973).
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was bicameral, consisting of a
- Senate (26 seats, including 2 ex-officio - Lord Mayor of Belfast & Mayor of Londonderry)
- House of Commons of Northern Ireland (52 seats)
The British monarch was initially represented as head of state by a Lord Lieutenant, although this was replaced by the office of Governor. As at Westminster, the Prime Minister was the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, invariably the Ulster Unionists. Initially the House of Commons was elected by proportional representation, by means of the single transferable vote, but this was later replaced by 'first past the post' as in Westminster elections. The Senate was elected by members of the House of Commons.
There were widespread accusations of gerrymandering, with Catholics being disadvantaged by electoral boundaries in what was described as a 'Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People', although Prime Minister Terence O'Neill attempted to improve relations with Catholics and with the Dublin government in the 1960s.
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