Despite pressure from the British government to introduce local government franchise, there was still division among Unionist MPs at Stormont.
On the first day of discussion, the Unionist Parliamentary Party could not come to any agreement. The following day, the proposal to introduce ‘one man, one vote’ was passed by 28 votes to 22. Major Chichester-Clark, the Minister for Agriculture, resigned, unable to accept the government's decision.
Although the vote was passed, it highlighted the divisions within Unionism and increased the pressure once more on Prime Minister Terence O'Neill. For nationalists and the civil rights movement, ‘one man, one vote’ was now too little too late.
The accompanying photograph shows an exterior view of Stormont, the Parliament Building of Northern Ireland, in May 1969. The photographer was Peter Dorney.
© RTÉ Stills Library 2142/080
Sean Duignan reports on the difficulties of getting Unionist Parliamentary Party members to agree on 'one man, one vote' and the pressure this puts on Captain Terence O'Neill's leadership.
Sean Duignan reports from Stormont minutes after the Unionist Parliamentary Party has voted.
The proposal for universal local government franchise is adopted narrowly by the Unionist Parliamentary Party.
At a rival press conference, Brian Faulkner is critical of the Northern Ireland government for introducing the local government franchise now.
Major Chichester-Clark, Minister for Agriculture, announces his resignation, claiming he is unable to accept the timing of the government's decision to introduce one man, one vote.
John Hume welcomes the decision to grant one man, one vote, but questions who is in control of the Unionist Party.
Despite the passing of ‘One Man, One Vote’, the new franchise may not apply until 1971 after the government performs a reshape of local councils.
The Unionist Parliamentary Party decision was taken at the expense of a further rift in the party and the resignation of the minister for agriculture, Major Chichester-Clarke.
In parliament this afternoon, the premier, Captain Terence O'Neill, appealed to all sections of the community to stay off the streets in the anticipation