• In Focus

    UK: Long-term strategic challenges posed by China

    The government has described China as an “epoch-defining and systemic challenge” to the UK. Its approach towards China is based on several factors, including shared economic interests, security concerns and human rights considerations. While some commentators have welcomed the government’s approach towards China, others have called on the government to take a tougher approach, such as designating China as a “threat” under national security legislation.

  • In Focus

    Current state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation

    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is a multilateral institution, which deals with a wide range of security-related issues including conflict prevention, human rights and economic and environmental activities. It is described as a forum for political dialogue and joint action. Its decisions are not legally binding and are taken by consensus on a political basis. However, the war in Ukraine has raised questions over its future role.

  • In Focus

    Ukraine update: September 2023

    Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has now lasted for more than 560 days. The promised Ukrainian counteroffensive is underway and, despite recent gains, has made slower progress than Ukraine and its Western allies may have hoped. Some commentators have suggested that the operation may be crucial to the direction of the war and its eventual outcome. This briefing examines a range of issues including the status of the counteroffensive and Russia’s strategic moves as it seeks to combat the impact of Western sanctions.

  • In Focus

    The future UK-EU relationship: Report by the House of Lords European Affairs Committee

    Since the Windsor Framework was agreed in February 2023, the UK and the EU agree their relationship has been on a positive trajectory. In light of this, a recent House of Lords committee report made recommendations about further opportunities for UK-EU cooperation on foreign policy, defence and security, energy security, climate change and mobility of people.

  • In Focus

    Climate change-induced migration: UK collaboration with international partners

    Climate change is likely to increase migration flows over the coming decades. Increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events are expected to increase “forcible displacements”, and the “slow-onset” impacts of climate change are expected to make the hardest hit regions uninhabitable. The UK is involved with several international forums which aim to discuss and cooperate on these issues.

  • In Focus

    Abraham Accords: UK government policy

    In September 2020, following US-sponsored talks, representatives from Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington DC. These comprised a declaration and bilateral agreements to normalise diplomatic relations, making the UAE and Bahrain the third and fourth Arab states to recognise Israel. Morocco later signed the accords, and Sudan signed the declaration. The UK government supports the accords.

  • In Focus

    Northern Ireland Protocol and Windsor Framework: Reports by the House of Lords Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee

    A House of Lords committee found in July 2022 that the Northern Ireland Protocol was affecting Northern Ireland businesses differently depending on whether they traded mostly with Great Britain or with Ireland and the EU. A year later, the same committee found the Windsor Framework, which amended the protocol in February 2023, was an improvement on the protocol as originally negotiated, but has not solved all the problems associated with it.

  • In Focus

    UK defence policy and the role of the armed forces

    The UK’s defence policy has been set in the context of a changing international situation. In 2023 the government refreshed both its 2021 integrated review and its 2021 defence command paper, which set the strategic aims for the UK’s international relations and its defence policy. On 7 September 2023 the House of Lords is due to debate the following motion: “Lord Soames (Conservative) to move that this House takes note of the role of the armed forces and the UK’s defence policy”.

  • In Focus

    Citizens’ rights after Brexit: Report and follow-up work of the House of Lords European Affairs Committee

    In July 2021 the House of Lords European Affairs Committee published a report examining citizens’ rights in the UK and EU after Brexit. The committee raised concerns about the European Union settlement scheme for EU citizens wishing to continue to reside in the UK, among other things. The committee wrote to the home secretary in 2023 asking further questions. This briefing looks at some of the issues raised in the report, the committee’s follow-up work and the government’s responses.

  • In Focus

    UK-China relations

    The relationship between the UK and China is complex and multifaceted. In recent decades the relationship has been shaped by events such as the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty. Economic ties have also played a significant role in relations, with China being one of the UK’s largest trading partners. However, disagreements on issues such as human rights and governance in Hong Kong continue to strain relations.

  • In Focus

    International Widows’ Day

    On 23 June every year the UN marks International Widows’ Day. The aim of this day is to draw attention to challenges faced by widows around the world, including discrimination and economic exclusion. This article gives an overview of the day and issues affecting widows ahead of a House of Lords debate on the topic.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Law (July 2023)

    The government describes the Illegal Migration Bill as seeking to “prevent and deter unlawful migration”. The bill has proven controversial, with various organisations raising concerns about the bill’s impact on UK legal obligations under international law. This article draws together commentary on the bill’s interaction with international law, as well as presenting the government’s position on the issues.

  • In Focus

    UK defence policy: International Relations and Defence Committee report

    In January 2023, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee published a report examining UK defence policy. The committee found that both the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the changing domestic economic environment had presented serious challenges to the scope and extent of defence policy. This briefing has been prepared ahead of a debate on the report in the House of Lords on 30 June 2023.

  • In Focus

    UK’s relationship with its overseas territories

    The UK government has a complex relationship with its overseas territories spanning constitutional, security and financial aspects. The territories operate with differing levels of self-governance, balancing local decision-making with UK responsibilities. The government collaborates closely with the territories on security and defence. It also engages in financial cooperation, providing support to the territories for their economic development and financial stability.