The Prime Minister
of Northern Ireland was the de facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...
head of the Government of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...
. No such office was provided for in the Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...
. However the Lord Lieutenant
The Governor of Northern Ireland was the principal officer and representative in Northern Ireland of the British monarch. The office was established on 9 December 1922 and abolished on 18 July 1973.-Overview:...
, as with Governors-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...
in other Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....
s such as in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
, chose to appoint someone to head the executive
The Executive Committee or the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland was the government of Northern Ireland created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Generally known as either the Cabinet or the Government, the Executive Committee existed from 1922 to 1972...
even though no such post existed in statute law. The office-holder assumed the title Prime Minister
to draw parallels with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...
. On the advice of the new Prime Minister, the Lord Lieutenant then created the Department of the Prime Minister
. The office of Prime Minister of Northern Ireland was abolished in 1972, along with the Stormont
The Parliament Buildings, known as Stormont because of its location in the Stormont area of Belfast is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Northern Ireland Executive...
government, when direct rule of Northern Ireland was returned to London.
The Government of Ireland Act
provided for the appointment of the Executive Committee of the Privy Council by the Governor. No parliamentary vote was required. Nor, theoretically, was the Executive Committee and its prime minister responsible
to the House of Commons of Northern Ireland
The House of Commons of Northern Ireland was the lower house of the Parliament of Northern Ireland created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. The upper house in the bicameral parliament was called the Senate. It was abolished with the passing of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act...
. In reality the Governor chose the leader of the party with a majority in the House to form a government. On each occasion this was the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...
, such was the UUP's electoral dominance using both a simple plurality and for the first two elections, a proportional electoral system.
The Prime Minister's residence from 1920 until 1922 was Cabin Hill
Cabin Hill was a private primary school in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which closed in 2006. Its pupils transferred to the new preparatory department at Campbell College....
, later to become the junior school for Campbell College
Campbell College is a Voluntary Grammar school in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The College educates boys from ages 11–18. It is one of the eight Northern Irish schools represented on the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and is a member of the Independent Schools Council.The school occupies...
. After 1922 Stormont Castle
Stormont Castle is a baronial mansion on the Stormont Estate in east Belfast which is used as the main meeting place of the Northern Ireland Executive....
was used, though some prime ministers chose to live in Stormont House
Stormont House is the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Office, it is situated in the Stormont Estate in Belfast in Northern Ireland....
, the unused residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons.
New offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister
The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister , sometimes abbreviated to FM/DFM, are positions in the Northern Ireland...
, with joint responsibility, were created in consequence of the Belfast Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement , sometimes called the Stormont Agreement, was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process...
in 1998. In contrast with the Westminster style of the earlier Stormont
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...
regime, the new power-sharing assembly operates on the principles of consociational democracy.
|| Took Office
|| Left Office
|| James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon, PC, PC , was a prominent Irish unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland...
|| June 7, 1921
|| November 24, 1940 (death)
| Craigavon Ministry
|| John Miller Andrews
|| November 27, 1940
|| May 1, 1943
| Andrews Ministry
|| Basil Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough
Basil Stanlake Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough, Bt, KG, CBE, MC, PC, HML was an Ulster Unionist politician who became the third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1943 and held office until 1963....
|| May 1, 1943
|| March 26, 1963
| Brookeborough Ministry
|| Terence O'Neill
Terence Marne O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of the Maine, PC was the fourth Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Ulster Unionist Party...
|| March 25, 1963
|| May 1, 1969
| O'Neill Ministry
|| James Chichester-Clark
James Dawson Chichester-Clark, Baron Moyola, PC, DL was the penultimate Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and eighth leader of the Ulster Unionist Party between 1969 and March 1971. He was Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament for South Londonderry for 12 years beginning at the by-election...
|| May 1, 1969
|| March 23, 1971
| Chichester-Clark Ministry
|| Brian Faulkner
Arthur Brian Deane Faulkner, Baron Faulkner of Downpatrick, PC was the sixth and last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from March 1971 until his resignation in March 1972...
|| March 23, 1971
|| March 30, 1972
| Faulkner Ministry
Parliamentary Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister
- 1921-1929 Algernon Skeffington, 12th Viscount Massereene
Algernon William John Clotworthy Skeffington, 12th Viscount Massereene and 5th Viscount Ferrard DSO was an Ulster Unionist member of the Senate of Northern Ireland from 1921-1929. During this period he served as Deputy Leader of the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary in the Department of the Prime...
- 1929-1930 Maxwell Ward, 6th Viscount Bangor
Maxwell Richard Crosbie Ward, 6th Viscount Bangor was an Irish peer and politician.Ward was educated at Harrow School and the Military Academy, Woolwich. He was a representative peer in the House of Lords from 1913-1950 and an Ulster Unionist member of the Senate of Northern Ireland from 1921...
- 1930-1941 John Andrew Long
John Andrew Long was a unionist politician in Northern Ireland.Long worked as a farmer and served on various public boards before his election as an Ulster Unionist member of the Senate of Northern Ireland in 1921, serving until his death in 1941...
- 1941-1948 Sir Joseph Davison
Sir Joseph Davison was a prominent Northern Irish Unionist politician.He was knighted in the Honours for the Opening of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1921...
- 1948-1960 William Moore Wallis Clark
William Moore Wallis Clark was an Ulster Unionist member of the Senate of Northern Ireland from 1946 until 1961. He was Deputy Leader of the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister from 1948-60....
- 1960-1970 Daniel McGladdery
Daniel Ritchie McGladdery was an Ulster Unionist member of the Senate of Northern Ireland from 1957 until the Senate's abolition in 1973. He was Deputy Leader of the Senate from 1960 until the office was abolished in 1961 and Parliamentary Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister from...
- 1970-1972 John Brooke
John Warden Brooke, 2nd Viscount Brookeborough, Bt, PC was a Northern Irish politician, the son of Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, the 1st Viscount Brookeborough.-Early life:...
Additional Parliamentary Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister
- 1969 Robert Simpson
Robert Simpson , often known as Bob Simpson was a unionist politician in Northern Ireland.Born in Ballymena, Simpson studied medicine at Queen's University, Belfast before setting up his own practice. He joined the Ulster Unionist Party in 1952, and was selected as the party's candidate for Mid...