Northern Ireland Protocol: House of Lords committee reports and recent developments

The House of Lords is due to debate two committee reports on the Northern Ireland Protocol on 13 September 2021. This briefing summarises the reports and recent developments relating to the protocol, including the Government’s July 2021 command paper that argued for discussions with the EU to find a “new balance” in the protocol.

Northern Ireland Protocol: House of Lords committee reports and recent developments

The UK’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa

In a report published in July 2020, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee argued that the UK should seek a stronger partnership with sub-Saharan Africa. It made a number of recommendations, including that the UK should set out a list of clear priorities for engagement with the region. Since the publication of the report and the Government’s response, there have been developments across several policy areas.

The UK’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa

Foreign languages: skills in the workforce

Surveys consistently indicate just under two in three Britons are unable to hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. A number of organisations have drawn attention to this so-called ‘language deficit’ and its impact on trade and employment. This article looks at calls to improve language skills in England in the context of the Government’s ambition for a ‘Global Britain’.

Foreign languages: skills in the workforce
  • In Focus

    Renewing the UK’s trading relationship with Commonwealth countries

    The Commonwealth comprises 54 countries who share a voluntary association. Member states have a combined population of 2.4 billion people and a gross domestic product estimated to have reached US$13 trillion in 2020. Commonwealth heads of government have set an ambition to increase intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 trillion by 2030. Post-Brexit, the UK Government is pursuing free trade agreements with Commonwealth partners as part of its independent trade policy.

  • In Focus

    Interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana

    The UK has signed a new interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana, replacing the trade arrangements that were in place when the UK was a member of the European Union. The terms of the interim agreement largely replicate those previous arrangements but with some notable differences. Concerns have been raised over the timing of the interim agreement, the level of scrutiny it has received to date, and other issues including the potential impact on trade with and between other west African nations.

  • In Focus

    UK-Cameroon Economic Partnership Agreement

    On 29 June 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate a regret motion on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the UK and Cameroon. The regret motion raises concerns over human rights abuses in Cameroon and a lack of parliamentary scrutiny of the agreement. This article examines the agreement, in addition to the parliamentary scrutiny it has received to date.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: international trade

    Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021, this In Focus sets out some of the Government’s current trade priorities and summarises policy issues that may be expected to develop over the next parliamentary session. This includes current trade negotiations, parliamentary scrutiny of agreements and the potential need for implementing legislation.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: UK-EU relationship

    The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement formally entered into force on 1 May 2021, having applied provisionally since the start of the year. However, there are still aspects of the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU that remain to be settled or fully implemented. This article looks at some key dates and deadlines likely to come up in the new parliamentary session.

  • In Focus

    UK-Turkey Free Trade Agreement

    On 27 April 2021, the House of Lords is due to take note of the UK-Turkey free trade agreement. The agreement sets out the future trading relationship between the UK and Turkey. This article considers the details of the agreement, as well as scrutiny it has received from the House of Lords International Agreements Committee.

  • In Focus

    HGV drivers: temporary relaxation of driving hours limits and minimum rest period rules

    Due to concerns about disruptions to supply chains resulting from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has introduced the Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Temporary Exceptions) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/58) to relax the rules governing maximum driving hours and minimum rest periods. It has stated that the exceptions should only be used where necessary and not at the expense of safety. The House of Lords is due to debate the regulations on 18 March 2021.

  • In Focus

    UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement

    On 2 March 2021, the House of Lords is due to take note of the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement. The agreement would set out the UK and Kenya’s future trading relationship. This article considers the details of the agreement, as well as scrutiny it has received from the House of Lords International Agreements Committee.

  • In Focus

    Fast tracked planning permission to use land as temporary inland border facilities

    The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 (SI 2020/928) has sped up the planning process for land to be used as inland border facilities in specified areas of England. The Government stated this is necessary due to the increased border control measures needed now the UK has left the EU. On 11 February 2021, the House of Lords will debate a motion ‘regretting’ the legislation.

  • Research Briefing

    National Security and Investment Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The aim of the National Security and Investment Bill is to reform how inward investment in the UK is investigated to ensure hostile governments or other entities do not use this to undermine the UK’s national security. The second reading of the bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords on 4 February 2021. This briefing provides a summary of the bill and its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    UK Relations with the Pacific Alliance

    The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration initiative between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. In June 2019, the House of Lords International Relations Committee published a report calling for increased UK engagement with the bloc. The report is due to be debated in the House of Lords on 1 February 2021.