Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014
The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed with the intent to ban dual mandates (also known as double-jobbing) for Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and to bring the Northern Ireland Assembly's elections into line with the other British devolved legislatures. It received Royal Assent on 13 March 2014.
|Long title||An Act to make provision about donations, loans and related transactions for political purposes in connection with Northern Ireland; to amend the Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998; to make provision about the registration of electors and the administration of elections in Northern Ireland; and to make miscellaneous amendments in the law relating to Northern Ireland.|
|Territorial extent||Northern Ireland|
|Royal assent||13 March 2014|
|Commencement||5 May 2016|
Status: Current legislation
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
During the debate on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly passed motions requesting the Government of the United Kingdom to delay their respective devolved legislature elections in 2015 to avoid a clash with the 2015 general election. The UK Government passed an amendment to the bill to allow for their elections to take place in 2016. Northern Ireland was not included in this bill due to the 2011 Northern Ireland Assembly election taking place at the time. The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was passed to bring the Northern Ireland Assembly into line with the other devolved legislatures and to extend each Assembly term to five years instead of four.
The Act also provided the option for the Assembly to reduce its size to 90 MLAs. The option for an official opposition to be formed in the Assembly if there was sufficient cross community support was considered during the parliamentary debate however it was not included in the final act.
In 2009, a House of Commons report recommended banning double-jobbing despite noting that it was a part of political culture in Northern Ireland as part of a legacy of The Troubles which had discouraged people from taking part in standing for elected office. Indeed, at one point Ian Paisley was "triple-jobbing" as an MLA, MP and MEP. By 2011 all the major parties in Northern Ireland had agreed to the principle of ending double-jobbing. The legislation prohibited people from being a member of the House of Commons or the Republic of Ireland's Dáil Éireann as well as an MLA. The legislation banned double-jobbing from the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election but allowed those who currently held dual mandates to hold them until the election when they would have eight days to decide which legislature they wished to sit in. Three members had this possibility at the time of passage, but following the 2015 UK general election, the last person in Northern Ireland with a dual mandate was Gregory Campbell as an MLA and MP for East Londonderry.
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