Overseas territories

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The page will automatically redirect to Overseas Territories Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on British overseas territories. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
29.07.2016Disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory: July 2016 update
This briefing describes the main developments since mid-2013 in long-running disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). A UK Government decision on Chagossian resettlement is pending. The status of the Marine Protected Area is contested. There has been no progress on sovereignty. Mauritius says it will seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. The future of the US military base on Diego Garcia must be decided by the end of the year. Meanwhile, there continues to be litigation in the English courts.
17.06.2016Commons Library analysis: Shining a light on beneficial ownership: what's happening in the UK and elsewhere?
This Commons Library briefing describes measures being taken in the UK and elsewhere to make ownership of companies, land and real property more transparent.
20.05.2016Commons Library analysis: The international anti-corruption summit in May 2016
This Commons Library briefing discusses the international summit on anti-corruption held in London on 12 May 2016 and what so far has emerged from it.
22.05.2013Disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory: a survey
Between 1968 and 1973 the British Government cleared the entire Chagos Archipelago of its inhabitants, opening the way for a US military base on the biggest island, Diego Garcia. The Archipelago was made a British overseas territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Two main disputes have arisen from these events. One has been between the Chagos Islanders and the British Government over the legality of the former's removal and whether they have a right to return. The other has been between the UK and Mauritius about sovereignty over the BIOT. The UK has said that it will cede sovereignty to Mauritius once the BIOT is no longer required for defence purposes.
17.01.2013Antarctic Bill - Committee Stage
The Antarctic Bill is presented as a Private Member's Bill by Neil Carmichael MP. This note sets out the issues discussed in the Bill Committee on 21 November 2012. These included: the timing of the enactment of the provisions relating to the liability annex, compatibility with existing shipping liability provisions, and the wider issue of the future of the British Antarctic Survey.
31.12.2012The Turks and Caicos Islands
This note briefly reviews the crisis of political and economic governance which has affected the Turks and Caicos Islands since 2008. A period of direct rule came to an end when fresh elections were held in November 2012. Only time will tell whether the Turks and Caicos Islands are now set on a new course - and, if so, what that course is.
18.07.2012Antarctica: the treaty system and territorial claims
The unique treaty system that protects the Antarctic is constantly updated and sometimes challenged. A current Private Member's Bill would implement recent changes in the UK.
11.10.2006Gibraltar: diplomatic and constitutional developments
Gibraltar: diplomatic and constitutional developments. House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/48.
22.05.2002Gibraltars constitutional future
Gibraltars constitutional future. House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/37.
22.04.1998Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and Spain
Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and Spain. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/50.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
12.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016 Day 2: Foreign and European Affairs, International Development and Defence
The House of Lords is due to debate the Queen's Speech over four days between 19 and 25 May 2016. This briefing is one of four prepared by the House of Lords Library to cover the themes of each day of debate.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
18.01.2013Biodiversity in UK Overseas Territories
The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) support a diverse variety of habitats ranging from ice fields and rocky islands to coral reef atolls and tropical forests. This POSTnote summarises the challenges to conservation management and halting biodiversity loss in UKOTs, as required under international agreements.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
23.03.2010Crown dependencies.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
07.11.2011REPRESENTATION OF BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND CROWN DEPENDENCIES ON REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
That this House calls on Her Majesty's Government to recognise the enormous contribution made by members of Her Majesty's Armed Services from each of the British Overseas Territories ...
04.04.2011TRISTAN DA CUNHA
That this House notes with concern the devastating effect of the recent grounding of the bulk carrier M.S. Oliva on the British Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha; recognises the ...
16.03.2011CELEBRATION OF ST PATRICK'S DAY IN MONTSERRAT
That this House joins the people of the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in celebrating St Patrick's Day on 17 March 2011 as their national day; recognises the bond of friendship, ...
17.02.2011CLUSTER MUNITIONS AND DIEGO GARCIA
That this House welcomes the international treaty to ban the use, manufacture, sale and storage of cluster munitions that came into force on 1 August 2010; is concerned that the American ...
17.11.2010BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
That this House recognises the enormous contribution by members of Her Majesty's Armed Services from each of the British Overseas Territories in wars and conflicts over the years, fighting ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses