The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

The publication of polling data about changing levels of party support in Northern Ireland has led to speculation about which parties might be in a position to nominate one of their MLAs to be First or deputy First Minister after future elections. In particular, there has been conjecture that an enlarged Alliance Party team could potentially nominate the deputy First Minister if their results surpassed those of the DUP or Sinn Féin.

Fact checkers don’t predict future events. This article explores the process currently in place that decides who leads Northern Ireland’s devolved government so you can understand how the process would be followed after the next election. Continue reading The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

Can 45 NI Assembly members vote together to revoke and remove the Northern Ireland Protocol?

CLAIM: If 45 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly vote to revoke the Northern Ireland Protocol, then the Protocol goes. 

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The Assembly cannot simply vote and “the Protocol goes”. By December 2024, the Assembly will vote on whether to continue with or withdraw consent for Articles 5–10 of the Protocol (but not the whole Protocol). Continue reading Can 45 NI Assembly members vote together to revoke and remove the Northern Ireland Protocol?

The electoral register and the 10-year canvass

What is the electoral register?

The Electoral Commission describes the electoral register as “a record of the names and addresses of people eligible to vote in elections and referendums”.

The register provides the list of those who are eligible to vote. People not included on the register cannot take part in elections and referendums. The register is also used for other public purposes, such as conducting boundary reviews and selecting people to undertake jury service, as well as for consumer credit rating calculations and marketing. Continue reading The electoral register and the 10-year canvass

Must the next electoral canvass be done by 2023?

CLAIM: The next electoral canvass in Northern Ireland must be completed before 2023, ten years after the 2013 canvass.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Legislation lists the years in which a canvass must be completed. It is specific that a canvass is due in 2021, with the subsequent one in 2030 and then every following ten years unless the Act is amended. An ad hoc canvass in intervening years does not reset the need for these end of decade canvasses. Continue reading Must the next electoral canvass be done by 2023?

Was British Army General Robert Ross the last man to attack the US Capitol?

CLAIM: The last man to attack the US Capitol, prior to the events on 6 January 2021, was a British Army Major General from Northern Ireland, in 1814.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Since the burning of the US Capitol in August 1814, during the War of 1812, there have been four notable further attacks before this year’s incident: Erich Muenter exploded three sticks of dynamite in the US Senate reception room (1915); Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the US House of Representatives visitors’ gallery (1954); the Weather Underground group exploded a bomb (1971); and seven people were arrested for causing an explosion in the US Senate (1983). Continue reading Was British Army General Robert Ross the last man to attack the US Capitol?

Are there only DUP members in the House of Lords?

CLAIM: There are only DUP members (who are/were members of a Northern Ireland political party) in the House of Lords.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. There are at least 11 peers currently in the House of Lords who are, or were, members of a Northern Ireland political party. Four of those 11 are registered as DUP. Continue reading Are there only DUP members in the House of Lords?