• 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The bill would create a discretionary power to enable ministers and certain Opposition office holders to take six months paid maternity leave subject to certain conditions. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do; what happened during its passage through the House of Commons; and the wider reaction to the bill.

  • In Focus

    Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 4) Regulations 2020

    The House of Lords is due to consider the Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 on 8 February 2021. The regulations, which came into force on 1 January 2021, are a consequence of a change in policy and drafting approach to sanctions licences issued by British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. This article examines what the regulations do and why they have been made.

  • 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

    Covid-19: Health literacy and public health information

    Public health information has been a central tool in the Government’s fight against Covid-19. However, the public’s ability to obtain, process and understand health information is variable, with 61% of adults in one observational study struggling to understand health information that included both text and numbers. This article examines some of the barriers to understanding public health information, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also looks at what the Government is doing to improve levels of health literacy.

  • In Focus

    Flags on Northern Ireland government buildings

    The draft Flags (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 would make changes to regulations governing the flying of flags on government buildings in Northern Ireland. They would remove one building from the list of sites where the Union flag must be flown and add two others. They would also add the birthdays of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and of the Duchess of Cornwall, to the dates on which the Union flag must be flown.

  • In Focus

    Bullying allegations, the Home Secretary and the ministerial code

    On 2 March 2020, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, confirmed that his department would investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. As at 29 October 2020, the results of that investigation are unclear. The issue of when a report may be published will be the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 2 November 2020.

  • In Focus

    Does the UK need a hydrogen strategy?

    In recent months there has been a renewed focus on the future of hydrogen as a low carbon energy carrier for the UK. This had led to calls from a variety of individuals and organisations for the Government and the newly formed Hydrogen Advisory Council to publish a hydrogen strategy. This issue is due to be the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 17 September 2020.

  • In Focus

    Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 (Remedial) Order 2019

    The Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 (Remedial) Order 2019 makes changes to the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013. These changes are the result of decisions made in the courts on the act’s compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. This article looks at the court cases which led to the remedial order, ahead of its debate in the House of Lords on 3 September 2020.