• In Focus

    Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013: Post-legislative scrutiny

    The House of Lords Committee on the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 released a post-legislative scrutiny report in July 2020. It found that, despite the act helping to improve the accuracy of the electoral register, millions of eligible voters may still be missing, risking disenfranchisement and damage to electoral integrity. Debate of the committee’s findings comes as the Elections Bill 2021–22 makes its way through Parliament, promising further changes to electoral laws.

  • In Focus

    Local Government (Disqualification) Bill

    The Local Government (Disqualification) Bill would disqualify individuals subject to certain sexual offence legal orders from standing for election or holding office in local authorities. The measures follow a recent Government consultation exercise, and they enjoy cross-party support.

  • In Focus

    UK relations with Qatar

    In recent years, Qatar has experienced significant tensions with its Gulf neighbours following its support for controversial regional actors, including Iran. Following a resolution in early 2021, relations have improved, though a rapprochement with some countries remains slow. The UK enjoys a good relationship with Qatar and recently issued a joint communique with the Gulf Cooperation Council on strengthening ties with the region. However, observers have continued to raise concerns regarding human rights in Qatar, and the treatment of migrant workers ahead of the forthcoming World Cup.

  • Research Briefing

    Nationality and Borders Bill

    The Nationality and Borders Bill would provide for widespread reform of the immigration and asylum system, though a number of its provisions have proven controversial. This briefing examines the legislation ahead of its consideration in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

    In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.

  • In Focus

    Afghanistan: hunger, poverty, and resettlement efforts

    Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the country is on the brink of a humanitarian and economic crisis. United Nations agencies report that significant proportions of the population are at risk from malnutrition, particularly young children, and as much as 97% of the population could fall below the poverty line. At the same time, many Afghans continue to seek to leave Afghanistan and the UK is engaged in efforts to resettle those who qualify to come to the country via several schemes. However, the key Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is yet to commence operations.

  • In Focus

    Pandora papers, money laundering and corruption

    The pandora papers are the largest ever leak of documents and files revealing how a global network of offshore companies, trusts and financial mechanisms are enabling wealthy individuals to avoid tax, and in some cases reportedly to also engage in criminal activities such as money laundering. There are also fears that the UK property market is being targeted by investors who are buying valuable properties through offshore companies to conceal their ownership and avoid taxation.

  • In Focus

    COP26: “Code red for humanity”

    Climate change is profoundly altering the world around us and some of its consequences may already take hundreds of years to reverse. Those are among the stark conclusions from the International Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, findings the United Nations secretary general has called a wake-up call for humanity. As world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit, this article examines the potential for a lasting agreement to tackle global warming.

  • In Focus

    Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy: Future of the Royal Marines

    The UK Government has announced substantial reforms of the armed services as part of the recent integrated review of defence and security policy, and an associated defence command paper, both published earlier this year. The reforms have significant implications across the services, including for the Royal Marines and the ongoing development of the Future Commando Force.

  • Research Briefing

    Standards in Public Life

    This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared ahead of the following debate in the House on 9 September 2021: Lord Blunkett to move that this House takes note of standards in public life.

  • In Focus

    Eating out and takeaways: calorie labelling regulations

    The Government has introduced draft regulations intended to require that large businesses such as restaurant chains display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and drink items prepared for immediate consumption. Ministers suggest the policy will deliver considerable benefits over the long term by reducing obesity and related demand on health services. However, the policy has been criticised by some in the hospitality industry and charities campaigning on behalf of those with eating disorders.

  • In Focus

    Merchant shipping: bilge water alarms

    The Government has introduced new regulations on the installation of bilge water alarms to merchant vessels of a certain size, to provide warning when the accumulation of bilge water threatens their buoyancy or safety. The regulations follow the sinking of the vessel ‘Abigail H’ in the Port of Heysham in 2008. The gap between that incident and the introduction of these measures has led to criticism that ministers have been too slow to act to prevent similar accidents happening again.

  • In Focus

    Interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana

    The UK has signed a new interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana, replacing the trade arrangements that were in place when the UK was a member of the European Union. The terms of the interim agreement largely replicate those previous arrangements but with some notable differences. Concerns have been raised over the timing of the interim agreement, the level of scrutiny it has received to date, and other issues including the potential impact on trade with and between other west African nations.