11.9The House has restricted its role in respect of matters now devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. On 1 July 1999 the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 came into force and, as a result, various powers were devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. Under the Northern Ireland Elections Act 1998 a ‘New Northern Ireland Assembly’ had met for the first time in shadow form on 1 July 1998 and under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 it was given devolved powers as the Northern Ireland Assembly on 2 December 1999.1 In periods when the Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended, legislative and executive powers in Northern Ireland have been exercised by the UK Government and Parliament.2


  1. 1. The Assembly replaced a previous body appointed under the Northern Ireland Assembly Act 1973, which had been dissolved under the Northern Ireland Act 1974, and briefly revived in 1982–83 under the provisions of the Northern Ireland Act 1982. That Assembly had itself replaced the Parliament of Northern Ireland, established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, prorogued in 1972 and abolished under the Northern Ireland (Constitution) Act 1973.
  2. 2. The Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended (under the provisions of the Northern Ireland Act 2000) between 11 February and 30 May 2000, on 10 August and 22 September 2001 and from 14 October 2002, followed by a dissolution on 28 April 2003. After the elections of 26 November 2003 the Assembly remained suspended, but the Members elected at that election were made members of a non-legislative Assembly created under the Northern Ireland Act 2006. This was succeeded by a Transitional Assembly established under the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 which was followed by the third election of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 26 March 2007. Devolved powers were restored to the Assembly on 8 May 2007. Following the resignation of the deputy first minister in January 2017, and the failure to form a functioning executive after the Northern Ireland general election in March 2017, the UK Parliament passed legislation to ensure the continued functioning and funding of public services in Northern Ireland, without, however, the Government resuming direct rule (Northern Ireland Budget Act 2017, Northern Ireland Budget Act 2018, Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018).