CPA UK Chair Dame Maria Miller MP Completes Second Reading to change the CPA's status to an International Organisation

Published 22 January 2024

Press Release

Chair of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dame Maria Miller’s Bill completes second reading in the House of Commons to make Commonwealth Parliamentary Association an international organisation. 

The CPA was registered as a UK charity in 1971 and it is subject to regulation by the UK Charity Commission and related UK legislation on the charities sector. As set out in the CPA’s strategic plan for 2022 to 2025, the CPA is seeking a change in its status to “an international, interparliamentary organisation

Maria said, “Based in the UK Parliament, CPA has worked to support and strengthen parliamentary democracy across the Commonwealth since its establishment in 1911. At present, CPA International is a UK charity, causing deep concerns particularly amongst a number of African Commonwealth nations. Parliament needs to legislate a change in status for the CPA or risk it departing from our shores for the first time in its history. 

My Bill provides the opportunity to resolve that problem once and for all. The challenges so many democracies face makes this measure more important than ever. Changing the CPA’s status is a simple legislative change that would mean a great deal to thousands of our fellow parliamentarians across the globe and be a mark of respect for the Commonwealth family of nations.  

I am delighted that my Bill has completed second reading in the House of Commons today. This is a fantastic achievement only made possible by the hard work by my Ministerial colleagues, Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth, Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and of course tireless work by Stephen Twigg Secretary-General of the CPA. 

The bill has cross-party support in both Houses and I look forward to working with colleagues to get this important piece of legislation thorough Parliament to ensure that the CPA’s work on strengthening democracy can continue uninterrupted.”

Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General of the CPA said, “I congratulate Dame Maria Miller MP on the successful Second Reading of her Bill. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has long sought such recognition in UK law and today represents an important milestone towards our goal”.

This bill will also change the status for another International Organisation, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC is a neutral, independent, and impartial humanitarian organisation helping victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence. 

Privileges and immunities are indispensable tools for ICRC to carry out its work. The ICRC has already been granted privileges and immunities by 109 states but not the UK, creating worrying operational challenges. Properly recognised privileges and immunities in UK law would help ensure that the ICRC can carry out its humanitarian mandate and protect the confidentiality of its work.

-Ends -

1. Bill page

Dame Maria Miller addresses the House of Commons during the first reading in July 2023

Dame Maria Miller addresses the House of Commons during the first reading in July 2023