MIL-OSI UK: Lords debate report on possibility of post-Brexit UK-EU security treaty

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
On Wednesday 16 January 2019, the House of Lords will debate the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee’s report on Brexit: the proposed UK-EU security treaty.

Background
The Committee’s report, published on 11 July 2018, examines the feasibility of the Government’s ambition to negotiate a single, comprehensive security treaty with the EU. The Committee called on the Government and the EU to make pragmatic compromises on security matters to achieve the over-riding objective of protecting the safety of UK and EU citizens after Brexit. Among other things, the report concluded that insufficient progress has been made in negotiating a comprehensive security treaty, an abrupt end to cooperation in March 2019 would seriously undermine the security of the UK and EU, and that serious difficulties are posed by the constitutional restrictions of some Member States on the extradition of their own nationals.
The Government’s response was received in September 2018. Although the Government gave full consideration to the majority of the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations, there were still outstanding areas of concern. The Committee wrote to Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, in November 2018 seeking clarification on the Government’s ambition to reach a single security agreement relatively quickly and on its preparations for what could be an operational cliff-edge at the end of the transition period.
Speakers
The debate is being moved by Lord Jay of Ewelme and Baroness Williams of Trafford will respond on behalf of the Government. Speakers will include Lord Browne of Ladyton, Baroness Ludford and Lord Ricketts.
Other Members of the House of Lords who are due to speak in the debate can be viewed on the Government Whips’ Office Speakers’ Lists.
Further information
Image: Parliamentary Copyright

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Committee looks to Canada and Belgium for devolution direction

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Scottish Affairs Committee continues its inquiry into the relationship between the Scottish and UK Governments, with an evidence session looking at how other countries manage intergovernmental relations.

Purpose of the session
The Scottish Affairs Committee is holding an inquiry into how cooperation between the UK and Scottish Governments can be improved. In this session the Committee will look at international comparators to find out if lessons can be learnt from how devolution works elsewhere.
The Committee will question the Deputy Head of the Belgian Embassy and a former Canadian Permanent Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs on what the UK can learn from their approaches to intergovernmental relations. The Committee will also hear about devolution arrangements in other countries from academics specialising in constitutional affairs and federalism.
Witnesses
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
At 10.15am – Academics
Dr Bettina Petersohn, Lecturer in Politics (specialising in Intergovernmental relations), Swansea University
Professor César Colino, Professor of Political Science (specialising in Spanish and comparative federalism), University of Distance Education (UNED) (Madrid)  
Dr Sandra León, Senior Lecturer (specialising in comparative government and decentralisation of public finance), York University
At 11.15am – Case Study: Belgium
Mr Jan Bayart, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Belgium in the UK
At 12.15pm – Case Study: Canada
George Anderson, former Deputy Minister (Permanent Secretary) of Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, Canadian Government (via video link)
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: What is the approach to forensic science in other jurisdictions?

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee continues to hear evidence about the use of forensic science in courts in England and Wales and its contribution to the delivery of justice.

Purpose of session
The Committee will question Dr Sheila Willis, former Director-General of Forensic Science Ireland, the national forensic laboratory of the Republic of Ireland. Dr Willis is currently a guest researcher at the United States of America’s National Institute of Standards Technology.
The Committee will ask what structures are in place in the Republic of Ireland, the U.S. and other countries that enable the most needed research in forensic science. The Committee will also explore approaches that successfully provide a current source of responsive, independent, balanced and accessible analysis of emerging science and technology to those involved in criminal investigations.
Witness
Tuesday 15 January in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster
At 3.25pm
Dr Sheila Willis, Guest Researcher, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Possible questions
Where are the gaps in forensic science research and in the understanding of forensic science evidence given your experiences in various jurisdictions?
The Committee has heard in written and oral evidence about the value of a ‘sterile corridor’ between investigators and the delivery of forensic science. To what degree is this achieved in other jurisdictions and in your view what challenges does having a separation of this nature create, and address?
Are there any lessons from the way the forensic science market operates in other jurisdictions that can learned for England and Wales?
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Committee question Minister of State on China

Source: British House of Commons News

11 January 2019
The Foreign Affairs Committee hold its final evidence session on China and the international rules-based system.

So far this inquiry has covered various topics, including China’s attitude to the international economic order, China’s regional relationships, and the way in which China’s domestic affairs affect its foreign policy. The Committee may ask Mark Field about these and a range of other issues affecting UK policy towards China.
Witnesses
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster
Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State
Kate White, Director, Asia-Pacific Department
James Kariuki, Multilateral Policy Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Former Defence Secretary gives evidence on nuclear issues

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The International Relations Committee takes evidence on nuclear risk, the challenges facing the current non-proliferation regime, the UK Position on the on the Ban Treaty, and the UK approach to the 2020 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Witnesses
Wednesday 16 January in Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster
At 11.50am
The Rt Hon Lord Browne of Ladyton, former Secretary of State for Defence (2006-2008), Vice-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Issues to be discussed include:
The current level of nuclear risk
The effects of the development of new technologies on the global nuclear diplomacy
The challenges facing the non-proliferation regime from Iran and North Korea
The role of Russia in destabilisation of the non-proliferation regime
The UK’s approach to the Ban Treaty
The UK’s position ahead of the 2020 NPT Review Conference

Image: Parliamentary copyright

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Minister for Middle East to give evidence on Yemen

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The House of Lords International Relations Committee will hold a special evidence session on recent Yemen peace talks and the UK’s response to the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Witnesses
Wednesday 16 January in Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster
At 10.40am
The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development
Possible questions
How is the UK supporting the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and discussion on the outstanding humanitarian issues?
What are your expectations for the next round of negotiations, and what will be the major issues for discussion?
What is your assessment of the current humanitarian situation in Yemen, and what is the UK doing to meet Yemen’s humanitarian needs?
The former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, told the Committee in January 2017 the when considering international humanitarian law, the UK was “still narrowly on the right side” of the threshold when considering the provision of arms to Saudi Arabia. Does this remain the Government’s view?

Image: PA

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Treatment of Members of Parliament examined by Joint Committee on Human Rights

Source: British House Of Lords News

11 January 2019
The Joint Committee on Human Rights takes evidence regarding free speech and the treatment of MPs

Background
The European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of expression, the freedom of association, and the right to privacy and family life. It also protects the right to free and fair elections. How can rights be exercised in a way which supports democracy? Some rights can be limited if necessary and proportionate in a democratic society. What is the correct balance between the right to protest, including to protest against things an MP has said, and the democratic need for MPs to have the freedom to represent their constituents and communicate with the public?
Purpose of the session
There are increasing concerns about the line between free speech and abuse and about the targeting of politicians, culminating in a recent string of incidents of harassment and intimidation outside Parliament. The Joint Committee on Human Rights will examine how to balance rights to ensure effective democracy in a public session on Wednesday 16th January from 3.05pm. MPs and Peers will ask witnesses, including leaders of backbench groups Graham Brady MP (1922 Committee), John Cryer MP (PLP) for their views on the scale of the problem and what they think is the correct balance between these human rights.
Witnesses
Wednesday 16 January 2019, Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
Sir Graham Brady MP

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Committee examines leadership skills in the public sector

Source: British House of Commons News

11 January 2019
In the third session of its inquiry into Strategic Leadership in the Civil Service, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee will question the Chair of the government group tasked with creating a public services leadership academy.

Background
In 2017, the Government committed to the establishment of a Centre for Public Service Leadership and created a taskforce to consider how the it might function.
The Public Services Leadership Taskforce, chaired by former civil servant Sir Gerry Grimstone, recommended in its final report that the Centre should focus on training for chief executive roles, with a commitment to maintaining a diverse intake and collaboration with other public service leadership programmes.
However, it is not clear how the Centre will collaborate with the existing Civil Service Leadership Academy.
Purpose of the session
The Committee’s inquiry into strategic leadership is examining how the Civil Service can better invest in building its future capacity and talent.
The Committee will question Sir Gerry Grimstone on the findings of the Public Services Leadership Taskforce.
Topics are likely to include the qualities that characterise effective leaders in the civil service, the role of the Centre for Public Service Leadership, how it will spend the £21 million that was allocated to it in the most recent Budget, and how the Centre will complement the work of the Civil Service Leadership Academy.  
Witness
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 19, Palace of Westminster
Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chair, Public Services Leadership Taskforce
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Academics and investors questioned on future of audit

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee holds the opening evidence session of its inquiry into the future of audit.

The focus of the Committee’s inquiry is on the likely impact of the CMA market study and the review of the FRC (by Sir John Kingman) in improving quality and competition in the audit market and reducing conflicts of interest. The first evidence session will include witness panels featuring academic experts and investors.
The Committee’s inquiry follows up on the Committee’s work on Carillion and BHS which identified flaws in the auditing of those companies and its subsequent interest in other auditing failures, such as Patisserie Valerie.  In addition to looking at the recent Kingman and CMA proposals, the Committee will also look at the recently announced review into the quality and effectiveness of the UK audit market being led by Sir Donald Brydon.
In future weeks the BEIS Committee’s audit inquiry will hear from witnesses from the Big Four and ‘challenger’ accountancy firms, Audit Committee chairs, CFOs, as well as representatives from the FRC & the ICAEW, and Sir John Kingman.
Witnesses
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster
At 10am
Panel One: Academic experts
Professor Christopher Humphrey, Professor of Accounting, Alliance Business School, Manchester University
Professor Karthik Ramanna, Professor of Business & Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University
Dr Ilias Basioudis, Senior Lecturer of Financial Accounting & Auditing, Aston University Business School
Vinita Mithani, Lecturer in the Accounting & Finance Department, Middlesex University Business School
Panel Two: Investors
 Euan Stirling, Global Head of Stewardship and ESG Investment, Aberdeen Standard Investments
Liz Murrall, Director, Stewardship and Reporting, the Investment Association
Natasha Landell-Mills, Head of Stewardship, Sarasin & Partners
Leon Kamhi, Head of Responsible Investment, Hermes Investment Management
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: DWP reverses retroactive part of 2-child limit

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
Chair’s comments
Responding to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions’ policy announcements on Thursday evening,  Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of Committee, said:

“I strongly welcome the Secretary of State’s decision not to press ahead with what could have been the cruellest benefit cut in history. At the eleventh hour, she has prevented thousands of children from being plunged into poverty by an unjustifiable retrospective policy. “The Secretary of State also seems determined to ensure that the transfer of claimants to Universal Credit proceeds with the necessary care and caution, as the Committee has consistently urged. There are welcome hints, too, of proposals for much needed changes to the single, monthly household payment of Universal Credit that has wreaked havoc on the budgets of all too many households, and for improvements on childcare payments. Together, these proposals could have a potentially significant impact on the living standards of many families on low incomes.
“The Committee stands ready to work with the Secretary of State on each of them.”

The Committee published its own report on the two-child limit on Thursday evening.
Further information
Image: Parliamentary Copyright

MIL-OSI UK News