About Us

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Who we are.

An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is an interest group that occupies a strategic and effective position within Parliament. It is cross-party, with a minimum number of Parliamentarians from the Government and the official opposition; and cross-house, made up of both peers and MPs.

The Group’s status is that of an All Party Parliamentary Group, bound by the rules set out by The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.  It does not have charitable status, or official status in the House, nor is it funded by Parliament.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones was founded in October 2012. The Group is chaired by Lucy Powell MP (Lab), Kirsten Oswald MP (SNP) and Baroness Stern (CB); the Vice-Chairs are Lord Hodgson (Con), Lord Macdonald (Lib Dem) and Douglas Chapman MP (SNP); and Treasurer is Richard Burgon (Lab). Tom Watson MP (Lab) is Honorary President.

The Group’s entry on the Register of All-Party Groups can be found here.

Purpose of the APPG

To examine the use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) by governments, for domestic and international, military and civilian purposes.

Focus of APPG work

The initial focus of our work will be:

  • the use of drones by the United States in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere;
  • use by the UK internationally; and
  • use domestically in the UK for law enforcement

Objectives

Within these themes, we have identified a need to examine and highlight the human rights, legal, political and other implications of drone use.

We intend to promote political and legal accountability for the use of drones by governments, and the rule of law. We will consider the role of unmanned systems more generally as part of remote warfare.

Methodology

  • effective use of the Parliamentary system, through Questions, Early Day Motions, debates and submissions to Committees;
  • engagement of MPs and Lords to raise awareness of the human rights, political and legal issues concerning use of drones (and systems that support the use of drones) through briefings, meetings, and drafting amendments to Bills for individual members;
  • external engagement with NGOs, investigative journalists, academics and think tanks through discussion of areas for further work, comment on research and policy recommendations, and the circulation of relevant reports to members;
  • identify advocacy opportunities to promote transparency, accountability and the rule of law in the use of drones by the UK and US, domestically and internationally;
  • broader media outreach.

The APPG is staffed by a (part-time) co-ordinator, Anna Thomas, and (part-time) researcher Jack Stewart. Anna’s background is the Bar (Devereux Chambers, 2000 to 2012).

If you would like further information about the work of the Group, please contact Anna Thomas via email: anna.thomas [at] parliament.uk; or write to: All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, c/o Office of Tom Watson MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.