Year: 2016


Knesset Speaker addresses UK MPs and Peers

The Knesset Speaker, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein visited the UK Parliament on 2 March 2016 during an official visit to the United Kingdom. He was accompanied by Knesset members and staff and delivered an address to members of both Houses in the IPU Room outlining his views on a range of issues related to the peace process, regional affairs and bilateral relations.  He also underscored his faith in the value of inter-parliamentary dialogue and the Knesset’s commitment to this, including through the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).  During his visit to the UK Parliament, Speaker Edelstein also meet the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza CMG PC.


Iceland Speaker focused on mutual concerns and political structures

BGIPU hosted an inter-parliamentary delegation from Icleand led by Speaker Mr Einar K Gudfinnsson from 29 February to 1 March 2016. The visiting Althingi delegation had the opportunity to meet a wide range of key parliamentary figures, including the Speaker of the HoC, the Lord Speaker and the the Leader of the Opposition.  The delegation gained key insights into the UK Parliamentary system, explored issues of mutual concern, including regarding the future of UK membership of the EU in advance of the 23 June referendum.


Mongolia visit highlights increasing engagement with UK

BGIPU hosted a parliamentary delegation from the State Great Hural of Mongolia, led by former Prime Minister, HE Mr Amarjargal Rinchinnyam from 22 to 26 February 2016. The visit served to highlight increasing engagement between the UK and Mongolia across a wide scope of activity including growing trade and investment links.  The visitors participated in a series of bilateral events and meetings with counterparts in London, learning more about the work and perspectives of UK counterparts, before travelling to Cardiff for calls in the Welsh Assembly.

Angela Smith MP in Action

Consolidating parliamentary democracy in Burma

Three British MPs write about their experiences in supporting the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNDP induction programme for the new parliamentarians that have been elected to the Hluttaw in Burma. This parliamentary strengthening programme was intended to be complementary to the ongoing assistance provided by the UK Parliament to strengthen and support the consolidation of parliamentary democracy in Burma and was part of a broader programme of international assistance supporting democratic reform in the country.


Challenges to European security: Parliamentary perspectives and responses

BGIPU and Wilton Park hosted an international seminar on challenges to European security from 15-17 February 2016, bringing together some 50 UK and international parliamentarians, government officials, NGO representatives, and academic experts. Parliamentarians from a wide range of European countries, engaged both with each other and experts with discussion focussed on key challenges facing European security; increasing migration, a Russia seeking to degrade European cohesion, and the continued need for robust parliamentary democracy.


Action on drugs was focus of IPU-UN parliamentary event

The world drug problem and how to address it was the focus of a major parliamentary hearing at the United Nations in New York on 8-9 February. The hearing, “The World Drug Problem: Taking Stock and Strengthening the Global Response”, reviewed the progress parliaments had made on the issue since a plan of action on illegal drugs was adopted by governments in 2009 in advance of UNGASS 2016 in April. The plan set 2019 as a target date for eliminating or significantly reducing supply, demand and associated criminal activity such as money laundering.

Ian Lucas MP and Nigel Evans MP at the 2016 UN Parliamentary Hearing

Evidence-based policy solutions to the world drug problem

Ian Lucas MP attended the UN Parliamentary Hearing entitled The World Drug Problem: Taking Stock and Strengthening the Global Response. The Hearing gave parliamentarians an opportunity for an evidence-based reflection on the ways the global community is addressing this complex problem in its many aspects – offering treatment and care to drug users, prosecuting drug offenders, fighting drug production and trafficking, regulating the medical use of opiates. The underlying question of the Hearing was whether the so-called “war on drugs”, which relies on a law-enforcement solution to the problem of illicit drugs, has worked as intended. 


IPU missions to push for progress on MPs human rights cases

The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians will carry out several human rights missions in the coming months to push for progress on cases involving the abuses of the human rights of MPs.  In a range of decisions adopted during a three-day meeting on cases concerning a group of 40 MPs, priority has been given to missions to Cambodia, the Maldives and Venezuela.  The Committee also elected a new President, Bangladeshi MP Fazle Karim Chowdhury, and a Vice-President, Margret Kiener-Nellen of Switzerland.


Annual General Meeting elects 2016 Executive Committee

The Annual General Meeting of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union was convened on Wednesday 13 January 2016 in the IPU Room at the Palace of Westminster to adopt the 2015 Annual Report and elect the Executive Committee for 2016. It was presided over by the Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, in his capacity as Honorary President of the Group.