How much information does the Government give Parliament about its position in advance of treaty negotiations? Is it bound to provide Parliament with information on its 'red lines' and strategies? This note looks at some past examples of White and Green Papers ahead of treaty negotiations.Jump to full report >>
Following the vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union there has been a lot of parliamentary interest in treaty negotiations - particularly the Government’s provision of information to Parliament about its negotiating position and ‘red lines’ ahead of negotiations.
Treaty negotiation is a matter for the UK Government. There is no formal requirement or mechanism in the UK for parliamentary scrutiny before or during treaty negotiations (when changes could still be made to the text), although Ministers will commonly ‘communicate with the relevant select committee’ before signing a treaty [HL Deb 31 January 2008 c796].
The Government also sometimes publishes information about its negotiating position. This paper provides some examples of green and white papers and other consultation the UK Government has used to set out its position in negotiating EU and other international treaties:
They do not always set out a negotiating strategy and they vary in the amount of detail provided.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7823
Authors: Vaughne Miller; Jon Lunn; Arabella Lang
Topics: Arms control, Central government, Common Agricultural Policy, Constitution, Crown, Defence equipment and procurement, Defence policy, Economic and monetary union, EU budget, EU defence policy, EU enlargement, EU external relations, EU institutions, EU law and treaties, EU political integration, Europe, Human rights, International economic relations, International law, International organisations, International politics and government, Legislative process, Parliament