In 1973, the British Government introduced and passed the Northern Ireland Assembly Act, providing for the holding of elections to a unicameral Northern Ireland Assembly, rather than Parliament, of 78 members, to be elected by PR. Further legislation, enshrined in Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, and known as the ‘constitutional guarantee’, defined Northern Ireland as the unit of self-determination which would decide if that territory was to remain within the United Kingdom; this section stated:
It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section.
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Brigid Hadfield The Constitution of Northern Ireland
(Belfast: 1989) pp. 104–110.Google Scholar
Paul Bew and Gordon Gillespie Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968–93
(Dublin: 1993) p.65.Google Scholar