Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report setting out the ongoing human rights challenges in Great Britain across 12 different areas of life, including education, health and privacy. It also provides recommendations to the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments on how to better respect and protect human rights, and fulfil their international obligations.
WaterAid UK has stated that questions remain unanswered following the publication of DFID’s Bilateral and Multilateral Development Reviews and the new UK Aid strategy. These have left the international community wondering how DFID will meet its pledges to lead the world on development work.
It has been claimed that UK-made cluster munitions were used by the Saudi-led coalition in the current conflict in Yemen. The UK is a signatory to a 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning the use of cluster bombs.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued an interim report, stating that fundamental rights should not be used as a bargaining chip. The Committee calls on the Government to give an undertaking to protect the residency rights of EU nationals in the UK.
Following Michael Barnier’s comments last week, Thomas Cole has argued that the EU has signalled that it wants to conclude Brexit as fast as possible and therefore that the UK will have to move quickly to secure favourable exit terms.
The 27 other Member States of the EU met without Theresa May to discuss their Brexit negotiation plans (May told EU leaders that she wanted an early deal in Brexit negotiations on the status of Britons in Europe and EU citizens in the UK, before leaving while they discussed their approach to Brexit).
The outgoing president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has threatened a potential veto of any Brexit deal by MEPs if they are shut out of negotiation talks.
The LSE Brexit Blog has considered the eight big challenges facing negotiators in the UK-EU negotiations, and the EU’s chief negotiator has stated that Britain faces a £50bn divorce bill after Brexit (a figure the Government rejects).
The House of Lords European Union Select Committee has published a report on the UK’s options for trade following Brexit. This suggests the Government must establish a “game plan” for a transitional arrangement before it triggers the two-year formal negotiations over its exit from the bloc.
Civil servants have reportedly complained that they are being asked to draw up departmental and budget plans for 2019 before there is any clear picture of Britain’s Brexit deal.
The Times (paywall) has reported that all important decisions on Brexit have been deferred until next year as members of the European Union Exit and Trade committee are struggling to reach agreement. However, MPs have accused ministers of “gross negligence” for refusing to answer questions about its contingency planning in case the UK fails to secure a deal with the EU within the Article 50.
The House of Lords EU Committee has also published a report calling on all parties to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, including the UK Government and the EU institutions, to give “official recognition to the special, unique nature of UK-Irish relations”.
Open Britain has argued that UK businesses will face a huge amount of paperwork if Britain leaves the customs union as it departs the EU.