North America

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on North America. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

18.08.2015Cuba and the United States - how close can they get?
Since December 2014, when the Presidents of the US and Cuba announced the beginning of a rapprochement, there have been developments on both sides. The US has eased travel and commerce restrictions; in April the two leaders met in person and in May 2015 the US officially lifted its designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. In July both countries opened embassies in the other country. But much remains to be done before relations can be considered 'normal' and it is far from clear how close the two countries will get. This note looks at what has happened so far and obstacles to be overcome.
09.02.2015Cuba and the US - how close can they get?
The US and Cuba have annoucned a normalisation of relations, but how close can they get? Will the US lift the economic embargo against Cuba or return Guantanamo Bay? Neither of these is currently under discussion but the US has already agreed to a range of measures to benefit individual Cubans and Americans, and the establishment of diplomatic relations is on the agenda. High level talks began in January and will continue in the coming months.
20.10.2014UK-USA Mutual Defence Agreement
The Mutual Defence Agreement allows the US and UK to exchange nuclear materials, technology and information in order to improve their atomic weapon design, development and fabrication capabilities. The most important part of the MDA is due to expire at the end of 2014 and therefore an amendment treaty, which will extend this deadline to 2024, must be ratified by both States and brought into force by the end of this year.
11.08.2014The US mid-term elections: domestic and foreign policy issues
As the US mid-term elections approach, the Democrats and Republicans are tied, approximately, in the opinion polls. This note brings together some polling information and summarises some of the main issues and recent news stories that may affect the result.
13.02.2014Canada 2014
Canada country profile
04.09.2013US Government and Congress Response to Syria
A look at the political situation in the US after President Obama's surprise decision to seek Congressional authorisation on Syria.
25.07.2013The Quebec referendums
This paper gives a brief outline of separatism in Quebec, showing that many of the arguments in Canada are already being echoed in the debate about Scotland's future relationship with the rest of the UK.
20.12.2011Drone attacks and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaqi: legal issues
Anwar al-Awlaqi, a dual US-Yemeni citizen described as the 'leader of external operations for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula', was killed by a US drone attack in Yemen on 30 September 2011. Whether this was legal under international or US law is a matter of considerable debate.
15.01.2010Sources of International Social Statistics
International sources of social statistics. By Kathryn Keith. SN/SG/3140.
24.04.2009Russia and the West
A year on from Dmitry Medvedev's succession to the Kremlin, this paper analyses the evolution of Russian foreign policy under both Putin and Medvedev. It seeks to identify the main themes, interests, and objectives of Russian foreign policy, and to appraise the role of President Medvedev in the direction of Russian diplomacy and his relationship with Prime Minister Putin. In so doing, it examines, in detail, Russia's relationship with the United States, NATO, the EU, and the UK and analyses the role of energy in relations between Russia and the West. Finally, it looks ahead at the prospects for the relationship in light of President Obama's declared intention to press the 'reset' button in US-Russian relations.


01.04.2011Unconventional gas, April 2011
This POSTnote examines the potential for unconventional gas exploitation in the UK, the regulatory regimes covering such activity, and the issues surrounding the extraction and use of the gas.
01.12.2006Military uses of space, December 2006
Military uses of space, December 2006. POSTnote 06/273.

Select Committee Reports

18.03.2010Global Security: UK-US Relations.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House salutes the courage and leadership of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords over the last year; believes that she has been a shining example of democracy to people across ...
That this House notes with regret that President Obama's pledge to close the US Military Detention Centre at Guantnamo Bay by January 2010 is almost one year overdue and little closer ...
That this House is concerned about financial pay-outs, potentially of millions of pounds, to 16 terror suspects who were Guantanamo Bay detainees; notes for the record that many of ...
That this House deplores the continuing anti-union behaviour of management at UK-based National Express Group's North American yellow school bus subsidiaries; notes that National Express ...
That this House sends a message of solidarity to the rally organised by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to be held on 23 October 2010 to demand justice for Oscar Grant, ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses