Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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The page will automatically redirect to Foriegn and Commonwealth Office 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 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and consular services. 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

25.08.2016The Occupied Palestinian Territories: recent developments
Security conditions have been worsening in the West Bank and Gaza in recent months, while the two-state solution seems to be going nowhere. The Palestinian leadership's attempts to gain state recognition have had some success, but have not improved the situation on the ground, as politics in both Israel and the Occupied Territories seem to become less conducive to a negotiated settlement.
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.
27.07.2016Somalia: July 2016 update
Somalia remains highly fragile as it prepares for legislative and presidential elections in August and September 2016 respectively. Even at this late stage there are reports that the elections may be delayed. The elections will not be on a 'one-person one-vote' basis as was originally hoped. While it has suffered setbacks, Al-Shabaab remains a real threat.
20.06.2016Burma: June 2016 update
Burma has a new government, with Aung San Suu Kyi, who embodies the country's long struggle for democracy and human rights, effectively at its head. Is this the new dawn that so many have been hoping for? It is certainly a time for optimism -- but many huge challenges remain.
08.06.2016Kashmir: June 2016 update
India-Pakistan relations remain fraught with danger and mistrust, not least over Kashmir. In September 2015, with regular exchanges of fire across the Line of Control and continuing armed attacks against the security forces in Indian Kashmir by Pakistan-based groups, Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, made more peace proposals. But India responded coolly at the time, arguing that Pakistan should end its support for terrorism first. Since then there has been little progress.
08.06.2016Mali: June 2016 update
In 2012-13 Mali experienced a massive political and security crisis from which it has been struggling to recover. This briefing provides a quick overview of that crisis, what has happened since then and what the UK's role has been.
28.04.2016Burundi crisis one year on: April 2016 update
Over the last year Burundi has been convulsed by a political and human rights crisis whose origins lie in the decision by President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek and then win a third term in office.
22.04.2016British soldiers to Libya?
Could British soldiers be sent to Libya? This briefing examines the Government's position and Parliament's role, if any, in approving such a mission.
12.03.2016Local authority boycotts
This note discusses proposals to restrict the ability of local authorities to carry out boycotts.
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.

Lords Library Notes

09.09.2016Fragile States: Effects of Conflict
This Lords Library briefing provides information on fragile states and the effects of conflict, including information on widows.
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.
20.01.2016Work of the Ad Hoc Committees in 2013-14
This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the work of the five ad hoc Lords Select Committees which reported in the 2013-14 session.
14.04.2011Debate on 28 April: Co-ordination between Government Departments on the use of Soft Power
This Library Note provides background information for the debate on 28 April 2011 on co-ordination between Government departments on the use of soft power.

Select Committee Reports

15.12.2011Government response to the ninth report from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on UK-Brazil relations....
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
14.09.2011FCO's human rights work 2010-11.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]
07.09.2011Spending reduction in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2011Role of the FCO in UK government.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]
26.05.2011FCO performance and finances.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House pays tribute to the important role Commonwealth scholarships have played in educating young people from Commonwealth countries, especially those in the developing world; ...
That this House congratulates the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan on its 50th anniversary this year; notes the major impact of the plan in producing leaders and highly-skilled ...
That this House notes with concern the potential impact of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) decision to withdraw funding from Commonwealth and Chevening scholarships on the ...


  • 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