The UK has 14 Overseas Territories, though four have no permanent British population. They have a population of over 270,000 people, and their marine areas cover around 2% of the world’s ocean surface. The inhabited Territories are mostly self-governing in their internal affairs, with their own governments and parliaments. The UK retains responsibility for their foreign relations, defence, and good governance. As small communities, the Territories often face challenges in accessing overseas markets, and many are vulnerable to natural disasters.

On this page, you can find all Commons Library research on the UK Overseas Territories, including their constitutional relationship with the UK Government and Parliament, the UK’s responsibilities towards them, how they are governed internally, and other issues affecting the Territories.

Constitutional relationships

The UK's support

Brexit and challenges to UK sovereignty

Social policy