Throughout the early stages of the 19th century, frequent rebellious attempts aimed to destabalise Anglo-Irish relations and overturn the Act of Union.
From the 1870’s onwards, Irish nationalists under the leadership of Isaac Butt pushed for Home Rule in Ireland. The Home Rule movement was the dominant political campaign of Irish nationalism that pressed for self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
It was not until 1886 that the first attempt to legislate Home Rule was made. This was when the Liberal government, led by Prime Minister (PM) William Gladstone and supported by the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), introduced a Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons. This attempt was not successful as British and Irish unionists defeated it.
DID YOU KNOW...?
The Irish Parliamentary Party was the sole nationalist political party of the 1880’s who campaigned for Home rule.
For six years the question of Home Rule was placed in a state of suspension. At the 1892 General Election, William Gladstone was re-appointed PM and committed himself to introducing a second Home Rule Bill.
On 13th February 1893, the second Home Rule Bill was introduced and passed by the House of Commons with a vote of 347 in favour and 34 against. After three days of debate, the Second Home Rule Bill was rejected by the House of Lords by 410 - 41.
In December 1910, a hung parliament gave the Liberal Party a small majority in the House of Commons. Leader of the IPP John Redmond offered his support to the Liberals in return for the introduction of a Third Home Rule Bill.
The Liberals accepted, and In 1912 British PM Herbert Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill to Parliament…
DID YOU KNOW...?
A hung Parliament is when no single political party wins a majority in the House of Commons. It is also known as a situation of no overall control.
Over in Ireland, political tensions were at boiling point as over 500,000 unionists in Ulster, Ireland's Northern Province, signed the Ulster Covenant in September 1912 as a protest against the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill.
Ulster Unionists believed their religious rights would be infringed by a predominantly Roman Catholic Home Rule parliament in Dublin.
The signing of the Third Home Rule Bill into the statute books was postponed for two years until September 1914.
But to the annoyance of the nationalists, the outbreak of the First World War meant that the bill was put on pause.