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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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Direct rule

For the next 20 years Irish affairs, either in the Republic or in Northern Ireland, rarely featured in the UK Parliament.

But when the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was formed in 1967 that changed.

The Civil Rights Association campaigned against discrimination suffered by Catholics in terms of jobs and housing.

It also opposed an electoral system that gave the Ulster Unionist Party a persistent majority in the Northern Ireland Parliament - known as Stormont, after the building in Belfast which housed it.


Violence, both from the police and paramilitary organisations, became increasingly common. In an effort to restore order, British troops were sent to Northern Ireland by the British government.

The prospect of direct rule from Westminster, whereby the UK Parliament would govern Northern Ireland instead of Stormont, was increasingly discussed in Parliament and Harold Wilson, the Leader of the Opposition, claimed that a Bill existed for that purpose.

Bloody Sunday

As the violence got worse, particularly as a result of the events of Bloody Sunday on 30 January 1972, Edward Heath, the Prime Minister, informed Parliament that direct rule would be implemented.

Stormont was indefinitely suspended on 30 March 1972 by the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act.