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Global Britain, contested spaces, and the UK overseas territories: A report on the existing and future relationship between the UK and its overseas territories

Clegg, Peter; Matheson, Kate; Mut Bosque, Maria

Global Britain, contested spaces, and the UK overseas territories: A report on the existing and future relationship between the UK  and its overseas territories Thumbnail


Authors

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Peter Clegg Peter.Clegg@uwe.ac.uk
Dean and Head of School of Social Sciences

Kate Matheson Kate2.Matheson@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Criminology

Maria Mut Bosque



Abstract

Since the decision of the UK to leave the EU, the UK Government has established and promoted the idea of ‘Global Britain’. Perhaps the clearest, but still largely unrecognised, manifestations of Global Britain are the UK’s Overseas Territories. The Territories provide the UK with significant global reach. However, the UK’s sovereignty over several of them is contested.
The purpose of this report is to consider two key questions. First, what are the central aspects of the relationship between the UK and its Territories and how can they be enhanced? Second, how can the Territories support and enrich Global Britain? The report does this by focusing on the most important aspects of the relationship, highlighting the existing state of affairs, and proposing changes or suggesting further avenues of enquiry, which the authors believe would be beneficial to consider. Due to the diversity among the Territories and the differential relationships between them and the UK, the report does its best to recognise the divergencies and nuances of policy and approach, but on some occasions, where apt, generalisations are made.
Because of Brexit and the notion of Global Britain there is an increasing amount of chatter, at least in some Territories, about what opportunities there might be for constitutional reform. The report argues that an open and wide-ranging approach should be taken, although there is need for confidence-building measures and a recognition that the UK might become less involved if further autonomy is secured. The report also suggests that changes can be made in the ways in which Westminster and Whitehall over-see and engage with the Territories. Under the umbrella of more effective governance the Territories should consider how Belongerships and the role of local legislatures can be enhanced. In relation to economic matters, there are significant vulnerabilities and development challenges in many Territories. More should be done to explore options for diversification, particularly in relation to climate change and environmental protection. Also, media and telecommunication links, including with the BBC, ought to be re-thought.
The environment is a key consideration because 94% of the biodiversity within the UK is located in the Territories. The report argues that the UK Government could play more of a role in supporting the critical environmental challenges facing the Territories. Similarly, in the area of social policy, the UK could take a more active role in support-ing Territory efforts to strengthen education and training opportunities, job creation, and tangible and productive links to the diaspora. Issues related to human rights, particularly in the Caribbean Territories, are more contentious, but there are opportunities for more effective cooperation between the Territories and UK. Finally, security and defence matters. These are clearly an important component of the relationship, but there are threats too. The UK’s exit from the EU has made its position less secure when it comes to the sovereignty of Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, and even the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, and further steps need to be taken to bolster the UK’s diplomatic standing.

Citation

Clegg, P., Matheson, K., & Mut Bosque, M. (2023). Global Britain, contested spaces, and the UK overseas territories: A report on the existing and future relationship between the UK and its overseas territories. UWE Bristol

Report Type Policy Document
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2023
Publication Date Jun 20, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 22, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2023
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/10883207
Publisher URL https://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/sites/default/files/institute_commonwealth_studies/Global%20Britain%2C%20contested%20spaces%2C%20and%20the%20UK%20Overseas%20Territories%20-%20Policy%20paper%20%28final%29.pdf
Related Public URLs https://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/news/new-report-published-existing-and-future-relationship-between-uk-and-its-overseas-territories

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