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.

On 24 December 2020, the UK and the EU reached agreement on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the TCA) setting out their future relationship. The UK Parliament passed the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 in one day on 30 December 2020. The TCA has been provisionally applied by both parties from 1 January 2021. The House of Lords is due to debate the TCA on 8 January 2021.

At the time of publication, the UK and the EU are continuing to negotiate their future relationship. Should a deal be reached, the Government has indicated Parliament would have to pass legislation to implement it. The requirements of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 would also need to be met before the UK Government could ratify a treaty. This article looks at the role of the House of Lords in this process.

  • In Focus

    The Trade (Disclosure of Information) Bill would allow Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and other public authorities to share data relating to the flow of traffic, goods and services into and out of the UK. The House of Lords is due to consider all stages of this bill on 17 December 2020. The bill essentially replicates some data-sharing provisions from the Trade Bill, currently at report stage in the Lords.

  • In Focus

    On Thursday 10 December 2020, the House of Lords will debate regulations made by the Secretary of State using powers in the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020. The regulations make a series of changes which the Government describe as necessary following the ending of freedom of movement. The changes will come into force at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

  • In Focus

    The Ozone Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 would implement the Northern Ireland protocol specifically in relation to restricting the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases). It would mean that EU law on these issues would apply to Northern Ireland following the transition period. It would also implement controls on the movement of relevant gases, substances and equipment between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

  • In Focus

    On 8 December 2020, the House of Lords will debate government proposals to further amend the rules that will govern the domestic regime for regulating the chemicals industry following the end of the Brexit transition period. Concerns have been raised regarding the administration of this new system and its impact on UK businesses. This article summarises the new draft regulations and the reaction to the Government’s proposals.

  • In Focus

    The draft Human Medicines (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 and the draft Medical Devices (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 seek to amend how clinical trials, medicines and medical devices will be regulated in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland after 31 December 2020, whilst taking into account the Northern Ireland Protocol. Under the Protocol, trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and EU Member States, will continue unaffected.

  • In Focus

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered a spending review statement on 25 November 2020. The Government said the review’s priorities were “to support the Government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery and deliver on promises to the British people”. Alongside the spending review, the Office for Budget Responsibility set out its latest forecasts for the economy and for the public finances.

  • In Focus

    In 2021, the UK will no longer be subject to EU state aid policy. The UK will follow World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and the Government will consult on whether to go beyond them. The Government has laid draft regulations to disapply state aid provisions from retained EU law. This article looks at the background on state aid, including its relevance to the Northern Ireland Protocol and the future relationship negotiations with the EU.

  • In Focus

    In the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, the Government is seeking to ensure unfettered access to the UK internal market for “qualifying Northern Ireland goods”. On 30 November 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate the draft Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. They contain the definition of “qualifying Northern Ireland goods” that will apply to the bill. This article explains the background to the regulations, and why the Government also intends to introduce further legislation in this area.