• In Focus

    Trade union regulations: regret motion

    The Government has introduced regulations that would allow the Certification Officer, which regulates trade unions and employers’ associations, to charge a levy to fund its work. A second set of regulations would give the post holder powers to impose financial penalties on relevant bodies for non-compliance with statutory requirements. The Labour Party opposed the proposals in the House of Commons on the grounds they would harm trade unions and workers’ rights.

  • In Focus

    Ukraine sanctions and the Swift system

    There has been extended debate on whether Russia should be banned from the international Swift system as part of the package of economic sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine. On 26 February 2022, the international community announced that selected Russian banks would be barred. This article looks at what Swift is, why it is significant and whether a ban would be likely to achieve its intended effect of restricting the Russian economy.

  • In Focus

    UK trade with Russia

    In 2021, the UK had a trade deficit with Russia of over £5 billion. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the UK has imposed a range of economic sanctions on Russia. This article presents data on UK-Russia trade and summarises the sanctions legislation.

  • In Focus

    Vetting appointments to the House of Lords

    Appointments to the House of Lords are currently vetted for propriety by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. It is able to advise the prime minister on these appointments. However, the prime minister can disregard its advice. On 3 March 2022, the House of Lords will debate the powers of the House of Lords Appointments Commission to vet nominations to the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on recent political developments in Northern Ireland

    Amid ongoing objections to the protocol from unionist parties, Northern Ireland’s First Minister recently resigned. This followed an attempt by the Minister for Agriculture, currently subject to legal challenge, to halt checks required by the protocol on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This article considers the Government’s assessment of the protocol’s impact on recent political developments in Northern Ireland ahead of a debate in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill

    The Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill is a private member’s bill that would create a statutory framework for drugs testing in approved premises, including testing for psychoactive substances and the abuse of prescription and pharmacy medicines. The bill received cross-party support in the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Older workers in the UK

    Recent labour market figures show a record number of job vacancies and increased economic activity in the UK. It has been suggested that one reason for this could be that older workers are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than before. This article considers how the pandemic has impacted older workers and what actions the Government has taken.

  • In Focus

    UK support for democracy in Taiwan

    The Government has described Taiwan as a stable and vibrant democracy, and an important economic partner. However, in the context of the complex relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, the UK does not formally recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state. The Government has called for a peaceful resolution to tensions between Taiwan and mainland China through constructive dialogue by both sides.

  • In Focus

    Glue Traps (Offences) Bill

    The Glue Traps (Offences) Bill is a private member’s bill that would make it an offence to use glue traps in England. Many groups consider the devices to be inhumane as they can cause trapped rodents and other animals to suffer. A licensing regime would permit exceptions for licenced pest controllers to use glue traps in exceptional circumstances.

  • In Focus

    Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill

    The Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill is a private member’s bill which would enable the secretary of state to introduce fixed penalty notices for certain offences in relation to animals and animal products.

  • In Focus

    Cultural Objects (Protection from Seizure) Bill

    Under provisions in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, cultural objects loaned to institutions in the UK for temporary exhibitions are protected from seizure for a period of 12 months. The Cultural Objects (Protection from Seizure) Bill would allow this period to be extended by three months, for example in cases where an object may be stranded in the UK due to travel disruption and the 12-month period of protection would otherwise lapse.

  • In Focus

    Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill

    On 4 March 2022, the House of Lords is due to debate the second reading of the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill. The bill would oblige taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities to submit information about refusals, suspensions and revocations of driver licences to a national database. Licensing authorities would also have to check the database before making licensing decisions.

  • In Focus

    Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL]

    The Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill which would establish an independent demographic authority to analyse the impact of UK population change. This article summarises what the bill would do, and the background to the proposals.