First Irish Home Rule Bill

First Irish Home Rule Bill

First Home Rule Bill
Name and origin
Official name of Legislation   Government of Ireland Bill 1886
Location   Ireland
Year   1886
Government introduced   Gladstone (Liberal)
Parliamentary Passage
House of Commons passed?   No
House of Lords Passed?   Not applicable
Royal Assent?   Not Applicable
Which House   House of Commons
Which stage   2nd stage
Final vote   Aye: 311; No 341
Date   8 June 1886
Details of Legislation
Legislature type   unicameral
Unicameral subdivision   2 Orders
Name(s)   not given
Size(s)   1st Order – 100 (25 peers, 75 elected)
2nd Order 204–206 members
MPs in Westminster   none
Executive head   Lord Lieutenant
Executive body   none
Prime Minister in text   none
Responsible executive   no
Act implemented   not applicable
Succeeded by   Irish Government Bill 1893

The Government of Ireland Bill 1886,[1] commonly known as the First Home Rule Bill, was the first major attempt made by a British government to enact a law creating home rule for part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was introduced on 8 April 1886 by Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone to create a devolved assembly for Ireland which would govern Ireland in specified areas. The Irish Parliamentary Party under Charles Stewart Parnell had been campaigning for home rule for Ireland since the 1870s.

The Bill, like his Irish Land Act 1870, was very much the work of Gladstone, who excluded both the Irish MPs and his own ministers from participation in the drafting. Following the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act 1885 it was to be introduced alongside a new Land Purchase Bill to reform tenant rights, but the latter was abandoned.[2]

Main article: Irish Home Rule Movement

Key Aspects

The key aspects of the 1886 Bill were:


  • A unicameral assembly (deliberately not called a parliament to avoid links with the former Irish parliament abolished in 1800 under the Act of Union) consisting of two Orders which could meet either together or separately.
    • The first Order was to consist of the 28 Irish representative peers (the Irish peers traditionally elected by all Irish peers to sit in the House of Lords at Westminster) plus 75 members elected through a highly restricted franchise. It could delay the passage of legislation for 3 years.
    • The second Order was to consist of either 204 or 206 members.[3]
  • All Irish MPs would be excluded from Westminster altogether.


Reserve Powers


When the bill was introduced,

The vote on the Bill took place after two months of debate and, on 8 June 1886, 341 voted against it (including 93 Liberals) while 311 voted for it. Parliament was dissolved on 26 June and the UK general election, 1886 was called. Historians have suggested that the 1886 Home Rule Bill was fatally flawed by the secretive manner of its drafting, with Gladstone alienating Liberal figures like Joseph Chamberlain who, along with a colleague, resigned in protest from the ministry, while producing a Bill viewed privately by the Irish as badly drafted and deeply flawed.[5]


See also

Further reading

  • Uiverstity College Cork, Historyy Faculty: Home Rule, The Elections of 1885, 1886
  • MacDonagh, Michael: The Home Rule Movement, Talbot Press, Dublin (1920)
  • Kee, Robert: The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (2000 edition, first published 1972), ISBN 0-14-029165-2.
  • Jackson, Alvin Jackson: HOME RULE, an Irish History 1800–2000, (2003), ISBN 0-7538-1767-5.
  • Hennessey, Thomas: Dividing Ireland, World War 1 and Partition, (1998), ISBN 0-415-17420-1.

External links

  • Internet Archive.