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  • AQA Component 1, Section Devolution: impact of devolution on government of the UK

  • Edexcel Component 2, Section 1.3: The role and powers of devolved bodies in the UK, and the impact of this devolution on the UK

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Northern Ireland’s DUP rejects appeal to join power-sharing executive

Background: what you need to know

This article looks at the fallout from the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly held on Thursday 5 May. For the first time a nationalist party, Sinn Féin, has emerged as the largest party, with the right to nominate the First Minister in a revived devolved assembly.

However, the second largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, is currently refusing to take part in government unless the Northern Ireland protocol, created under the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU, is removed or replaced. Unionists object to the protocol because, by imposing checks on goods passing from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland, it treats the latter differently from the rest of the UK.

Under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, devolution can operate only if both unionist and nationalist community representatives agree to work together. This means that Northern Ireland is likely to enter a new period of uncertainty, possibly leading to new elections.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Devolution has failed to achieve its objectives.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the argument that devolution has failed to maintain the unity of the UK.

    In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: The article gives useful information on Northern Ireland but for a question on devolution of this kind, you should also include discussion of the situation in Scotland and Wales.

    A relevant Component 1 topic is referendums — a cross-border poll on Irish unification is a key long-term demand of Sinn Féin.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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