Britain In The World
The deteriorating politics of Northern Ireland has left the Government with no option other than to act on the Protocol
The Northern Ireland Protocol once again threatens to derail the UK-EU relationship. After months of talks between London and Brussels failed to reach mutually acceptable solutions, the Government has reached the conclusion it has no alternative but to start the process of introducing domestic legislation to alter the Protocol.
The Queen’s Speech and Deregulation: Who will regulate the regulators? Time for more parliamentary scrutiny
The Government confirmed it will introduce a Brexit Freedoms Bill, first announced by the Prime Minister in January 2022. Plans for the Bill were set out in The benefits of Brexit white paper, which outlined the Government’s broad ambition to make the UK the “best regulated economy in the world”. The Bill will remove the supremacy of EU law and make it easier for Ministers to amend, repeal, or replace retained EU law.
To the relief of the French and European establishment, Emmanuel Macron’s re-election makes him the first two-term French President in 20 years since Jacques Chirac. However, the 17-point margin of his victory over Marine Le Pen does not tell the whole story. Voter turnout was the lowest in a presidential run-off since 1969 and Le Pen increased her vote tally from 10.6 million in the second round in 2017 to 13.2 million this time around.
The horror of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been shocking in so many ways. Much about what happens next is uncertain, but the crisis is clearly a pivotal moment, which the West and its allies will be grappling with for many years to come. Vladimir Putin’s appalling actions have upended long-held assumptions about the geopolitics of Europe and are leading to radical and fundamental changes in policy, most starkly in Germany.
All domestic Covid restrictions in England will end today, marking an important milestone as we emerge from an exceptional period of crisis. The macro-economic response to the pandemic understandably focused on damage limitation and maintaining employment, which has had a significant impact on the public finances. The painstaking work of supply-side reform has either taken a backseat or simply been overtaken by events.
The Government’s regulatory reform plans. We know a lot about the principles…but not much about the practice
Regulatory reform tends to receive far less attention than government policies on taxation and spending, but it is just as vital to the UK’s economic success and the country’s post-Brexit future.
Last week, the Government published The Benefits of Brexit: how the UK is taking advantage of leaving the EU to mark the second anniversary of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The document sets out how the Government is using post-Brexit freedoms to implement new policies in different sectors. From immigration to trade, and agricultural policy to government subsidies.
Away from the fraught endgame of the Brexit negotiations, there has been positive news in UK trade in the last few weeks. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss added to the growing portfolio of UK trade agreements by securing a deal with Mexico on 15 December, following similar deals with Singapore and Vietnam last week.
Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission published its interim report on 22 November, arguing that the Indo-Pacific is the most important region for expanding UK trade after Brexit. This comes shortly after the recent agreement between fifteen countries in the region to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the world’s largest trade bloc when measured by population and GDP. So what is RCEP, and what does the new bloc mean for the Indo-Pacific region and the UK’s strategic approach to it?
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has announced that the UK has concluded a historic new free trade agreement with Japan, the UK’s first major trade deal post-Brexit. The agreement is an important step towards the UK’s ambition to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Later this month, the UK and the US will conduct the third round of talks on a new trade agreement. The successful conclusion of a deal with the US will be challenging but would provide a major strategic prize for the UK, as I explain in a new report for Policy Exchange released today, “The art of a UK-US trade deal”. The paper looks at the challenges and opportunities facing negotiators over the coming months.