Queen’s Speech 2021: devolved affairs

The Government has pledged to introduce reforms to foster a “culture of collaboration and cooperation” between the UK Government and the devolved administrations. It has stated its “steadfast commitment” to the union and to shaping its “common future”. This article discusses some of the key issues in devolved affairs that may be addressed in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

Queen’s Speech 2021: devolved affairs
  • 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: Planning for the May 2021 elections to go ahead safely

    A number of elections are due to be held across Great Britain on 6 May 2021. This includes local council elections, mayoral elections and elections to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. In light of concerns about whether these elections can go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government recently published guidance on how they can be run safely and securely.

  • In Focus

    Establishment of Mayor of West Yorkshire

    The Government announced the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal in March 2020. This would provide for the establishment of a mayor of West Yorkshire and confer several other functions on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. A draft order, if passed by both Houses of Parliament, would implement the devolution deal. This article considers the devolution deal, the draft order that has been introduced to implement the deal, and parliamentary scrutiny of the order that has taken place.

  • In Focus

    Government of Ireland Act 1920: What system did it create?

    The Government of Ireland Act 1920 will be 100 years old in December 2020. The act created the institutions for home rule in Ireland, including two devolved parliaments: one in the north and one in the south. Historian and member of the House of Lords Lord Lexden argues the act was a “vital staging post on the road” to the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. This article reviews the system of government created by the 1920 act.

  • In Focus

    Draft State Aid (Revocations and Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

    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

    Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

    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.

  • In Focus

    Product standards and measurements after Brexit

    The regulation of product safety, and weights and measures, is based on EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings this EU law into UK statute, so that it will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. Amendments since have made to enable this framework to operate smoothly in the UK, and added provisions such as a UK conformity mark. This article looks at a further statutory instrument that amends retained EU law in the area, particularly in light of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

  • In Focus

    Draft Customs Safety, Security and Economic Operators Registration and Identification (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

    After the transition period, customs procedures for goods arriving from the EU will change. These regulations would amend earlier regulations by: delaying until 1 July 2021 the requirement for entry summary declarations for goods coming from the EU to Great Britain; introducing shorter deadlines for submitting exit and entry summary declarations for goods being moved to/from certain territories by short sea journeys; and correcting issues relating to economic operators registration and identification requirements.

  • In Focus

    Regulation of organic products and genetically modified organisms

    The regulation of organic products, and of genetically modified organisms, is based on EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings this EU law into UK statute, so that it will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. Amendments since have ensured that the retained law refers to the UK system, not the EU. However, under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will remain subject to the EU’s laws. This article looks at two statutory instruments that further amend the 2019 regulations so that they refer only to Great Britain, enabling Northern Ireland to continue to meet EU law.