UK: Human rights commitments in political parties' election manifestos

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3 December 2019

CORE assesses corporate accountability commitments of UK parties ahead of General Election

Author: CORE

"UK General Election 2019: Corporate Accountability Commitments", 27 Nov 2019

Political parties contesting the... UK General Election (to be held on 12 December 2019) recently released manifestos... We examined what each had to say on holding businesses accountable for their impacts on human rights and the environment...

Conservative Party...The party does not commit to introduce new corporate accountability legislation, instead committing to “legislation and regulations that maintain high standards but which work best for the UK”...

Labour Party...Labour commit to “support ongoing UN efforts to introduce a binding international treaty on business and human rights, and make companies legally accountable for failing to prevent human rights abuses or environmental damage in their operations and supply chains, including criminal liability in the most serious cases”...

Scottish National Party: ...On corporate accountability legislation, they state “whilst it is always better to work collaboratively as partners, the SNP supports direct intervention when firms fail to meet their legal and social obligations”...

Liberal Democrats: ...On corporate accountability legislation, they pledge to “introduce a general duty of care for the environment and human rights – requiring companies, financial institutions and public sector agencies to exercise due diligence in avoiding specified activities such as child labour or modern slavery, or specified products such as commodities produced with deforestation, in their operations and supply chains, and to report on their actions”...

Other parties/manifestos included in the analysis: Plaid Cymru, Green Party, Brexit Party

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20 May 2019

UK: CORE examines corporate accountability dimension of political parties' EU election manifestos

Author: CORE

"EU election manifestos 2019: what do they say about corporate accountability?", 20 May 2019

We examined the manifestos of UK political parties' contesting the European elections, to be held in the UK on 23 May 2019. What do they say about the protection of human rights and the environment with regard to the global operations of UK companies?

Conservative Party

No manifesto.

Labour Party

Labour's manifesto lists among their achievements in Europe "leading the fight against the excesses of the few...".

...They pledge to "continue to lead efforts for a new comprehensive plan to deliver rights and protections" for workers in European law...

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats' manifesto states that "the EU can clamp down on abuses by global corporations in a way that Britain cannot do on its own..."

...Importantly, they pledge to "introduce a general duty of care for the environment and human rights for companies and public sector agencies."...

Green Party

The Green Party's manifesto includes commitments to work towards "an effective and independent EU authority to supervise, control and limit the market power of big corporations."...

They list as achievements that "firms involved in the extraction and trade of conflict minerals will be obliged to check whether their supply chain has links to armed conflicts and human rights abuses," and that "the Parliament will negotiate for compulsory criteria on labour and environmental standards in EU Trade Agreements, paving the way for a UN binding instrument on business and human rights."...

Other parties/manifestos included in the analysis: Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru, Change UK, UK Independence Party (UKIP), Brexit Party

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