• Research Briefing

    Climate and Ecology Bill [HL]: HL Bill 13 of 2022-23

    The Climate and Ecology Bill is a private member’s bill proposed by Lord Redesdale, due for its second reading in the House of Lords on 15 July 2022. This briefing examines the legislation and recent government policy in this area, including commitments on climate and biodiversity.

  • In Focus

    A new mandate for the restoration and renewal programme

    The restoration and renewal programme was created to deliver the substantial repairs and modernisation the Palace of Westminster requires. Legislation enacted in 2019 provided for an independent sponsor body and a delivery authority to manage and oversee the works. However, the Commissions of both Houses have jointly proposed the abolition of the sponsor body and the creation of a new joint department to carry out its functions as part of a new mandate for the programme.

  • In Focus

    Relationship between health and food production

    There has been notable scrutiny of the link between health and food, including in 2020 by an ad hoc committee in the House of Lords. It found that the UK food system was failing to enable people to make healthy and affordable dietary choices. This briefing examines those findings and the challenges faced by both consumers and the UK agri-food sector, and the government’s policy response.

  • Research Briefing

    Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill: HL Bill 16 of 2022-23

    The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill is government legislation intended to introduce security requirements for smart devices and to assist the rollout of telecoms infrastructure for emerging technologies, including 5G and gigabit capable internet. This briefing examines the legislation ahead of its consideration in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Foreign affairs, defence, and international development

    This year’s Queen’s Speech takes place at a time of severe international tension, with Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine dominating the policy agenda. At the same time, conflict in Yemen continues, as do the ramifications of the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan. In defence policy, NATO’s role has come to the fore in the face of Russian aggression, while domestically the UK military continues to undergo significant reform. In international development, focus remains on the UK’s spend on overseas assistance and how it can help those caught up in those conflict zones and elsewhere.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Constitution

    The Queen’s Speech is taking place on 10 May 2022. This will set out the Government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This briefing provides a summary of legislative proposals concerning the constitution and other announcements that may be included in the speech.

  • In Focus

    The use of Napier Barracks to house asylum seekers: regret motion

    Napier Barracks in Kent has been used since 2020 as contingency or temporary accommodation for those seeking asylum. In September 2021, an order was laid before Parliament extending the use of the site for such purposes for another five years. This move came despite significant criticism of facilities at the site, including a judgment from the High Court declaring them inadequate and the Home Office guilty of employing unlawful practices.

  • In Focus

    Iran, negotiations on its nuclear capabilities, and its wider regional influence

    Negotiators are reportedly close to agreeing a new deal to prevent the further development of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. However, questions remain over how to address Iran’s destabilising regional activities, including its support for armed militant groups, leading many to question whether any deal should be broader in scope or seek to pave the way for addressing these concerns.

  • Research Briefing

    The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: A Brief Parliamentary History of Her Reign

    On 6 February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth. Events and initiatives will take place throughout the year to celebrate this milestone, culminating in a four-day UK bank holiday weekend in early June.

  • 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.