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Weekly Update 22 July 2022

Weekly Update 22 July 2022

Dear Friends,

This week has seen the contest to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party take most of the headlines. Voting amongst Tory MPs has reduced the field down to Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Elizabeth Truss, the current Foreign Secretary. As was the case in 2019, the next Prime Minister will now be decided by a subset of the general electorate - members of the ruling Conservative Party. Voting has opened, and the result has been scheduled for 5 September. The Bingham Centre hopes that the successful candidate will seize the opportunity to draw a line under the UK's recent carelessness with its reputation as a Rule of Law regarding nation, and signify their intent to do so by immediately withdrawing the so-called "Bill of Rights" Bill, which is doing so much harm to that reputation.

As Boris Johnson delivered his final performance at Prime Minister's Questions, the House of Commons and Parliamentary Select Committees continued their work. In the main chamber, MPs continued their debates on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, as reported on below. Amendments supported in our second Rule of Law Monitoring of Legislation Project report, reported on in last week's update, may become relevant again at the Bill's Report Stage.

The European Scrutiny Committee published the final report from their inquiry into the future of retained EU law. The report quotes oral evidence delivered by our Research Fellow Dr Oliver Garner, as reported later in this update. The Centre will continue to engage with the topic of the status of formerly binding law post-Brexit if and when the "Brexit Freedoms Bill" materialises. It remains to be seen whether and how the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet, once elected, may engage with these flagship policies and the Rule of Law concerns they raise.

Our update this week provides more detailed reports on the progress of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill from our lead researcher on the Rule of Law Monitoring of Legislation Project Dr Ronan Cormacain, and on the report issued by the European Scrutiny Committee on retained EU law. We also bring exciting news from the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre: this week saw the publication of a scoping study commissioned by the Office of Theresa May MP - the former Prime Minister - which was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. The study examines the case for establishing a "Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking". While the political theatre of a leadership contest consumes media attention, it is crucial to raise awareness of the human tragedies that can arise when legal systems and mechanisms fail to address serious human rights abuses such as modern slavery and human trafficking.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

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