Introduction: Northern Ireland in British Politics
In 1991 Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, talked of trying to establish a three-stranded negotiation process on the future of Northern Ireland: between unionists and nationalists within Northern Ireland, between North and South on the island of Ireland and between the British and Irish Governments. This formulation reflected some of the many dimensions there are to the Northern Ireland question. There was, however, another dimension — one which Brooke chose to ignore and which has generally been under-explored in the voluminous literature on Northern Ireland. It is this fourth strand, that between the people of Northern Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom, which is the focus of this study.
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