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1975 Constitutional Convention Election (NI) - United Ulster Unionist Coalition (UUUC) Manifesto



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Text: United Ulster Unionist Coalition (UUUC) ... Page Compiled: Brendan Lynn

UNITED ULSTER UNIONIST COALITION MANIFESTO

ULSTER IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

The people of Ulster have consistently demonstrated by a large majority through the ballot box that SO IT SHALL REMAIN.

Peace, stability and prosperity in Ulster cannot be achieved without a restoration of democratic government in a form acceptable to the largest possible number of people throughout the community. Having already seen the failure of an effort to impose an unworkable and unacceptable constitution, we approach the opportunity afforded by the Constitutional Convention with a deep sense of our responsibility to all the people of Northern Ireland to put forward plans for future government which we regard as fair and workable.

 

Our proposals are:

FULL REPRESENTATION IN THE PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

Ulster ought to have parity of representation in the United Kingdom Parliament. On the standard of the representation of Scotland this would mean an increase from 12 to at least 21 seats. The number of constituencies as well as their boundaries should be decided by the judicial Commission.

Parliamentary representation for Ulster must always be on the same basis as for any other part of the United Kingdom enjoying devolution.

Forces are at work throughout the United Kingdom which aim at devolution. No doubt we shall see a new system of government emerge. This new system while giving a large degree of power to the regions can be so structured as to strengthen rather than weaken the unity of the United Kingdom.

We are dedicated to maintain that unity.

A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PARLIAMENT WITH A SYSTEM OF GOVERN MENT BROADLY IN LINE WITH THE PROVISIONS TO BE MADE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL DEVOLUTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AS A WHOLE.

It is only in the context of a fully efficient regional democratic system of government that we can tackle the urgent current problems in Agriculture, Industry, Employment, Housing, Education, Health and most important of all, Law and Order. Our separation by sea from the British mainland and our distance from the centre of United Kingdom government render an accessible administration of our own essential to our peace and well being. Neither a dictatorship, a bureaucracy nor a county council can provide an adequate substitute.

We see no reason for any special form of franchise for Northern Ireland different from that in use elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

However we are prepared to consider ways of giving to significant but scattered minorities representation which they would otherwise fail to achieve. A modification of the "List system" might be examined in this context, whereby most members would be elected for single member constituencies on a straight vote and the balance drawn from party lists in proportion to the votes cast. We reject as inherently undemocratic any artificial device for giving any political party or interest a larger share of representation, influence or power than that to which its electoral support entitles it.

We believe that the traditional British democratic parliamentary system is essentially the right one.

The Leader of the Party with a majority in the House would be entrusted to form a government. If no party has such a majority then the Leader who can secure a majority through a freely negotiated coalition would be entrusted with the task.

We are ready to discuss ways in which the available talent of all parties can be given wider opportunities for participation in administration and parliamentary decision-making than in the past. We would propose powerful all-party back-bench committees which could provide special opportunities for any minority group in relation to legislation and the scrutiny of government administration. But we do not believe that such opportunities can in any way be allowed to exceed or distort the mandate given by an electoral majority.

The Ulster Parliament and Government should be responsible for policing and internal security.

Accordingly, the existing security forces should be adjusted with the police force taking the main role.

While the R.U.C. must be firmly under the control of Parliament, there is no reason why an administrative structure could not be devised which would allow greater public participation leading to a strengthening of general confidence.

ULSTERíS LINKS WITH THE CROWN MUST BE MAINTAINED AND STRENGTHENED

The laws of Ulster would be enacted by the Queen in Parliament and the Queen would have to be represented by a non-political person appointed by her to perform such constitutional and ceremonial duties as she is not able to perform in person.

Her Majestyís Government in the United Kingdom should continue to be responsible to parliament for all functions of government in Northern Ireland which are not at any time transferred.

THE RESTORATION OF DEMOCRATIC LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The present system of local government based as it is on bureaucratic centralisation and nominated boards, is unsatisfactory and must be substantially modified. Until the degree of devolved government in Ulster is settled it is impossible to put forward firm proposals.

Democratic local government automatically involves shares responsibility and participation as between majority and minority or minorities because in local government the Councils themselves are the executives. All parties should be represented on committees as nearly as may be in proportion to their strength on the Council.

 

NO COUNCIL OF IRELAND

We cannot accept any imposed institutionalised association with the Irish Republic

In 1925 the Government of Northern Ireland entered into an agreement with the Dublin Government in which those governments declared their resolve "mutually to aid one another in a spirit of neighbourly comradeship". In this spirit we have always desired and still desire to act towards the Republic. We deeply regret that the good will which that agreement embodied was allowed to fade, when the Irish Republic laid claim to sovereignty over our whole territory and has from time to time allowed its own territory to be used as a base and sanctuary for terrorists.

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

Our proposals take into account the demands for devolution in other parts of the United Kingdom but we are concerned that any future arrangement for devolved government within the Kingdom should be properly safeguarded by a Bill of Constitutional Rights which would establish the relationship between the Westminster Parliament and each devolved Parliament and would also guarantee that all citizens are equal under the law and are equally subject to the law.

AFTER SIX YEARS OF TERROR AND TURMOIL OUR TASK IS TO REBUILD THE INSTITUTIONS OF THIS PROVINCE.

If the task is to be done successfully then the foundations must be secure. They must be based firmly on democratic principles. They cannot be based on expediency or on shifty compromise. The Institutions must be securely buttressed by adequate resources, by an effective system of Policing and by the support or assent of an overwhelming majority of people.

 

WE BELIEVE THE INSTITUTIONS OUTLINED ABOVE DESERVE THE SUPPORT OF ALL.

 


 

The above manifesto was written for the:
Constitutional Convention Election (NI) on Thursday 1 May 1975.
This version of the manifesto appeared in Appendix 1 of:
Great Britain. Northern Ireland Office (NIO). (1975) Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention Report, (20 November 1975). London: HMSO.


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