• In Focus

    Global gender equality in political life

    As part of its sustainable development goals, the United Nations (UN) has called for women to achieve full and effective participation in political life by 2030. Currently, women account for 25.5% of national representatives worldwide. The UN has said that with the current rate of action gender parity will not be reached for another 130 years. This article considers which countries are leading on political gender parity and what barriers to full participation remain.

  • In Focus

    Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) (Amendment) (No. 7) Regulations 2021

    On 15 February 2021, new regulations on travellers arriving into England came into force. All travellers are now required to test negative twice during their quarantine period, and travellers entering from ‘red list’ countries must isolate in Government-approved hotels. The Government has been criticised for not introducing hotel quarantine for all arrivals to England. The regulations are subject to a regret motion in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Food waste in the UK

    As part of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the UK Government has committed to halving the UK’s per capita food waste by 2030. In 2018, the UK produced around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste, a 15% reduction from 2007. The Government supports several initiatives as part of its resources and waste strategy, but there have been calls for it to introduce statutory regulations to meet its targets, instead of relying on voluntary agreements.

  • In Focus

    Tackling modern slavery in the Commonwealth

    It is estimated that there are around 40.3 million victims of modern slavery worldwide. Of these, about 40% are thought to live in the Commonwealth. In the last few years, the UK Government has distributed £200 million in aid to fund international projects to tackle modern slavery. It has also committed to tackling modern slavery in supply chains. Campaigners have said that progress on the issue amongst Commonwealth governments overall has been slow.

  • In Focus

    Women in elected office in the UK

    Following the election in 2019, the highest number of female MPs were elected to Parliament. This In Focus looks at the current levels of women in politics in the UK, including in the devolved administrations and local government. It then outlines some potential barriers to increased female participation and details some developments that have been made in this area in the last couple of years.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 and the US election: The presidential inauguration

    President Joe Biden began his term as US president on 20 January 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and heightened security concerns, his inauguration looked different to those before. This article outlines some key information about presidential inaugurations in the US and looks at how recent events impacted this year’s ceremony.

  • In Focus

    Armed Forces Act (Continuation) Order 2021

    Each year, both Houses of Parliament are required to approve legislation which allows the armed forces to continue to operate throughout the world. This statutory instrument extends the current legislation until the end of 2021. It is expected that a new Armed Forces Act will come into force before the end of the year.

  • In Focus

    Impact of Brexit on UK musicians performing in the EU

    Following the end of the transition period with the EU, UK musicians can no longer travel and work freely across the EU. In some countries, such as Spain and Germany, musicians will have to apply for a work permit if they want to be paid for performances. The EU and the UK have both said that they put forward proposals to prevent this outcome, but they could not come to an agreement.

  • In Focus

    ‘Global Britain’ and the British Armed Forces

    The Government has used the phrase ‘Global Britain’ since the EU referendum in 2016 to summarise its post-Brexit foreign policy. It has said the Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review, set to conclude early this year, will expand on its vision for the UK’s place in the world. In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the first outcome of this review would be an increase in defence spending over the current parliament.