‘Leave it to Terence’: the Labour Government, October 1964–March 1966

Part of the Contemporary History in Context Series book series (CHIC)


This chapter deals with Labour’s Northern Ireland policy in the runup to the general election in October 1964 and the development of that policy during the brief administration, which ended with the General Election of March 1966. The attitude of the Labour leader, Harold Wilson, is considered both in opposition and in government and the early attempts of backbench Labour MPs to raise Catholic grievances in the Commons are analysed. They were prevented from doing so by the convention that Northern Ireland issues — including discrimination — could not be raised at Westminster. The origin of this convention, and the question of whether it could or could not have been breached, are discussed in detail. Evidence newly released under the 30-year rule — mentioned above — of the threat of a major IRA bombing campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising is examined and the chapter ends with a hint of constitutional change — a secret proposal by Wilson to curb the powers of Ulster MPs at Westminster.


Prime Minister Labour Government Labour Leader Religious Discrimination Housing Allocation 
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© Peter Rose 2001

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