London — Britain announced plans to set up a representative Advisory Council for Northern Ireland as a step toward restoring home rule to the province. Announcing the plan to Parliament, Northern Ireland Secretary Humphrey Atkins said: "I envisage a council composed of perhaps 50 representatives from elected sources -- this House [of Commons], the European Parliament, and the 26 Northern Ireland district councils. I intend to invite people to serve after seeking nominations from Northern Ireland parties which have been shown in recent elections to have a substantial following in the province."
But he stressed this is only a first step and that direct rule from London would continue. The British Parliament took over direct rule in Northern Ireland in March 1972, when the U lster Parliament at Stormont was dissolved.