There have been 41 exchanges between David Rutley and HM Treasury
|Wed 15th July 2020||Covid-19: Future UK-EU Relationship||3 interactions (3 words)|
|Wed 24th July 2019||Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords]||17 interactions (2,362 words)|
|Tue 23rd July 2019||Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||10 interactions (848 words)|
|Tue 23rd July 2019||Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||14 interactions (2,978 words)|
|Wed 10th July 2019||Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill||13 interactions (2,451 words)|
|Tue 2nd July 2019||Religious Slaughter of Farm Animals (Westminster Hall)||8 interactions (845 words)|
|Tue 2nd July 2019||New Covent Garden Market (Westminster Hall)||4 interactions (2,195 words)|
|Mon 24th June 2019||Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords]||21 interactions (2,956 words)|
|Mon 17th June 2019||Pet Identification (Westminster Hall)||7 interactions (2,641 words)|
|Wed 5th June 2019||Animals||29 interactions (3,245 words)|
|Tue 4th June 2019||Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill||23 interactions (3,700 words)|
|Wed 22nd May 2019||Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill (Third sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||57 interactions (4,084 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||10 interactions (1,312 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||15 interactions (1,051 words)|
|Tue 7th May 2019||Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill||26 interactions (3,432 words)|
|Tue 23rd April 2019||Waste Water Treatment Works: Odour Nuisance (Westminster Hall)||2 interactions (1,321 words)|
|Wed 3rd April 2019||Non-stun Slaughter of Animals (Westminster Hall)||17 interactions (1,719 words)|
|Tue 2nd April 2019||Puppy Smuggling (Westminster Hall)||12 interactions (1,543 words)|
|Mon 18th March 2019||Exiting the European Union (Agriculture)||12 interactions (2,145 words)|
|Thu 7th March 2019||Dangerous Dogs (Westminster Hall)||9 interactions (2,567 words)|
|Tue 5th March 2019||No-deal EU Exit: Public Sector Catering (Westminster Hall)||7 interactions (2,504 words)|
|Tue 26th February 2019||Animal Rescue Homes (Westminster Hall)||4 interactions (1,952 words)|
|Thu 21st February 2019||Dog Meat in the UK (Westminster Hall)||5 interactions (1,979 words)|
|Wed 20th February 2019||Horse Tethering||6 interactions (1,650 words)|
|Wed 16th January 2019||Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||15 interactions (1,299 words)|
|Tue 11th December 2018||Cat Welfare (Westminster Hall)||14 interactions (1,758 words)|
|Tue 4th December 2018||Animal Rescue Centres (Westminster Hall)||9 interactions (1,775 words)|
|Mon 12th November 2018||Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations||6 interactions (1,727 words)|
|Wed 31st October 2018||Leaving the EU: Timber Industry (Westminster Hall)||12 interactions (1,736 words)|
|Mon 15th October 2018||Racehorse Protection (Westminster Hall)||5 interactions (2,472 words)|
|Tue 9th October 2018||Food Labelling and Allergy-Related Deaths||44 interactions (2,003 words)|
|Wed 4th July 2018||Ivory Bill||32 interactions (3,138 words)|
|Thu 28th June 2018||Improving Air Quality||21 interactions (1,523 words)|
|Tue 19th June 2018||Ivory Bill (Fifth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||44 interactions (4,651 words)|
|Tue 19th June 2018||Ivory Bill (Sixth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||28 interactions (2,637 words)|
|Thu 14th June 2018||Ivory Bill (Third sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||94 interactions (6,313 words)|
|Thu 14th June 2018||Ivory Bill (Fourth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||63 interactions (5,039 words)|
|Tue 12th June 2018||Ivory Bill (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||7 interactions (1,135 words)|
|Tue 12th June 2018||Ivory Bill (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||9 interactions (1,163 words)|
|Wed 24th January 2018||Carillion and Public Sector Outsourcing||3 interactions (7 words)|
|Thu 11th January 2018||Finance (No. 2) Bill (Third sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||1 interactions (11 words)|
Where are they, indeed. Members should not worry, because the SNP will provide an effective Opposition.
I am respectfully asking my friends in the Labour party who are present to stand with us. We went through the Lobby together to establish devolution, and devolution is now under attack from this Tory Government. There is a question to be asked of the Labour party: will they stand with us? [Interruption.] It would be helpful if they would turn up, but I hope when it comes to votes —and there is going to be a fight over the coming months—that we stand shoulder to shoulder against this attack on devolution in Scotland, in Wales and in Northern Ireland.
What is now taking place is nothing more than an undignified attempt to neuter the Scottish Parliament. Let me put the Tories on notice that we will stand up for the sovereign rights of our Parliament enshrined by the referendum result and by the establishment of our Parliament. Let me remind the Tories: our Parliament was established by overwhelming numbers in 1997. It belongs to the people of Scotland.
“Not the SNP!” Do I really have to take that? I know the hon. Member represents an English seat and perhaps he does not pay much attention, but if he looks at every one of the results of elections to the Scottish Parliament since 2007 and to Westminster since 2015, as well as the European results, he will see that the people of Scotland have put their trust in the SNP to defend them from the kind of attacks that we have from the Tory Benches. [Interruption.] I hear, “What about a referendum?” so let me say this. We went to the people of Scotland last December and we stood on the principle of Scotland’s right to choose. We got 45% of the vote. There is a bigger gap between us and the Tories than there is between the Tories and Labour in the United Kingdom. We won that election, by any definition. The people of Scotland elected us in 48 of the 59 constituencies. There are six Tories from Scotland. We won that election. I accept that the Conservatives won the election in the UK, but that means that it is incumbent on the Conservatives to recognise that the SNP won in Scotland.
With this it will be convenient to consider clause 2 stand part.
I am pleased to speak in support of this Bill. I will start by restating what my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Dr Drew) said on Second Reading—that Ministers can rest at ease, because the Opposition have no intention of dividing the House on this issue. Indeed, this is a Bill that we support and encourage the Government to get on with as fast as they can.
The Bill has been a long time in the making, with previous Bills started by the hon. Members for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), the hon. Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) and Lord True. We are pleased that we have managed to come so far on this occasion, and we hope the Bill will pass all its remaining stages in the Commons today.
It is important to remember that the Bill goes back to the difficulties that Kew Gardens faced in 2014, when there was a potential funding crisis. The then director saw that Kew could lose up to 150 research staff, which would have been a tragedy given its international importance—not just for public access, but as the world’s most important research institution in the areas that Kew covers. The Select Committee on Science and Technology noted at the time that Kew had difficulties transitioning away from its pure state funding model to one where it is more self-sufficient.
Kew Gardens is not only an incredible tourist attraction but an international centre of expertise and something that this country should be very proud of. I remember my last visit to Kew Gardens; I was in awe of the natural diversity that thrives in that corner of green in this metropolis of hustle, bustle, concrete and steel. The seeds and samples at Kew are unique and preserve for the future a vital resource for scientists working on tracking biodiversity. The world’s largest herbaceous borders at Kew are also pretty incredible. I can only imagine the weeding and pruning that is required to keep Kew looking so inspirational and attractive. I sometimes struggle with my little garden in Plymouth, but this is on a very different scale indeed.
Break in Debate
The hon. Gentleman is now stretching things, so I am going to call the Minister to speak.
I have decided to select as manuscript amendments, to be proceeded with on Report, amendments 1 and 2 tabled in the name of Pete Wishart for the Legislative Grand Committee (England), to be debated together. Copies of a Report stage amendment paper will be available from the Vote Office shortly. In the meantime, we may proceed using the texts on the amendment paper for the Legislative Grand Committee (England).
Power to grant a lease in respect of land at Kew Gardens
Break in Debate
The hon. Lady raises an important point. I do not intend to detain the House desperately long. I want to ensure that that debate can be had. It is particularly relevant, of course, to Members from England and Wales. We just had a procedure of the so-called English Parliament. This was what was supposed to happen as a result of the independence referendum and the reform of devolution, but it is patently failing, as she demonstrates. There are only two amendments, however, and I am speaking about the second, so her patience should not be tested for too much longer.
One of the key points is that the leases will raise money. That money will generate tax take, that tax take will go to the Treasury, and that money will eventually work its way into public expenditure, first through the UK consolidated fund, and then, presumably, some of it will end up in the Scottish consolidated fund through the Barnett formula. This has been the crux of our problem with the EVEL procedure from the very start—We do not see the full consequences and knock-on effects. That is why the amendment suggests that the Minister make an estimate or report on the sums expected to accrue to the Treasury as a result of any lease granted.
We were told when the EVEL procedure was introduced that we would be able to scrutinise all these things through the estimates process, but this is not the only time my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and North Perthshire has been called out of order and required by the Chair to resume his seat, because previously when he tried to talk about estimates, he was also ruled out of order and was unable to speak. There has been a small reform to the estimates process, which we have welcomed, but it is still not sufficient for us to have the kind of say we want. We cannot table meaningful amendments and the subjects and time available for debate are still limited.
We are demonstrating, even in the frustration of the hon. Member for High Peak (Ruth George) about the squeeze on the important debate to follow on youth services in England, the fundamental failures, first of the EVEL system, and secondly of the overall impact of the attempt at reform and the potential silencing of voices from England and Wales. The EVEL procedure, sadly, is becoming a laughing stock. There is a risk of Parliament falling into the same trap. Certainly, laughing stocks will not be in short supply outside our doors and down Whitehall.
Politics is a bit chaotic at the moment, and these kinds of procedural shenanigans do not enhance that, but they serve to prove the point. In the interests of consensus and not delaying the Bill any further by sending it to ping-pong with the Lords, I do not intend to press my amendments, but I hope the point has been made, and I look forward to the Minister’s response.
I do not get to say this very often, but I accept the Minister’s reassurances. I think our point has been made and I look forward to seeing whether the Government Whips Office tries to use this procedure again at any point, ever. If it does not, perhaps it just needs to get rid of the whole procedure. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Consideration completed. Does the Minister intend to move the consent motion for the Legislative Grand Committee?
I remind hon. Members that, if there is a Division, only Members representing constituencies in England may vote. I call the Minister to move the consent motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Committee consents to the Kew Gardens (Leases) (No.3) Bill [Lords].—(David Rutley.)
I am just trying to beat the record of my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) for being the Member from Scotland who has spoken most frequently in the Legislative Grand Committee. It is not just the occupants of the Serjeant at Arms chair who are getting exercise; you are, too, Sir Lindsay, as you move up and down, from Chair to Chair. This should not just be a formality. It defeats the entire purpose of the process. I hope that has been heard by Members on the Treasury Bench.
Question put and agreed to.
The occupant of the Chair left the Chair to report the decision of the Committee (Standing Order No. 83M(6)).
The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair; decision reported.
Queen’s consent signified.
There is very little to add to the remarks I made earlier, so as I want the House to come to the next debate as soon as possible, I shall briefly say that I am grateful to the Minister for his support for the ongoing digitalisation of the herbarium records and the recognition that the income derived from the sale of these leases will go to support Kew’s ongoing work. We need more, bolder and swifter action to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, and Kew Gardens plays an important part in Britain’s soft-power and hard-power interventions in doing that, and I wish it the best of luck in selling these leases so we can make sure that work continues.
Q You raised the issue of a baby badger being skinned alive. There is some controversy about or question whether that would be covered by the Bill. Do you believe it would be sensible to review the scope of the Bill at some stage in the not-too-distant future, to see how well it is working and whether it should be revised?
Michael Flower: I think it would be sensible, and I believe an amendment has been tabled that there should be a review after two years. I am not convinced that there will be sufficient data in two years to do that properly. If the Bill were to be enacted in the next three or four months, it would be a couple of years before results started filtering through the court system. A review would be welcome from our point of view because there might be anomalies between the Animal Welfare Act and other animal welfare protection legislation, such as the badgers Act. If this Bill is enacted, we must consider how sentencing can be applied to other areas.
Claire Horton: I agree with that. The Bill is clear and has been introduced because of the recognition that animal cruelty is a serious issue. We would be concerned by anything that slowed its progress. It is fairly uncontentious, and I urge Members to get this bit through, and to consider issues of review and inclusion once we have more evidence further down the line.
Break in Debate
Q Clearly, having a stricter sentence for that will also fit in with other criminal activities that surround dog fighting. I am sure that it is not a problem in London, but your fellow police officers in other parts of the country have terrible problems with hare coursing. Would you support the idea that it would be sensible to have a Bill of this sort that would help to prevent hare coursing as well as dog fighting?
Inspector O'Hara: It is not really my area of expertise. I generally stick to companion animals and the position on that should probably come from wildlife crime. I suspect it dovetails very much into Mike’s point around the disparity of the two genres, for want of a better phrase.
Q Inspector O’Hara, when the Bill is passed into law—hopefully very soon—how will it be implemented, and what about the deterrent effect that was spoken about earlier? From an outsider’s perspective, the idea that the cruelty sentencing could increase to such a large degree should have an effect. From your point of view, as someone who works in this area, how best will that be communicated to individuals who would consider abusing an animal? What is the best way of communicating the increased sentence to the general public and to those individuals, so that it has a deterrent effect?
Inspector O'Hara: Typically in this topic, media have been led and have focused on case results and outcomes, on the back of some successful prosecutions with high sentencing. I think there is a key prevention message that can go out before the legislation comes through. There is one thing that worries me slightly: I have not known many people charged with animal welfare offences to enter a guilty plea at the first hearing. I can see that there will be quite a lot of cases, particularly if sections 4 to 8 are charged, where somebody will elect to go to Crown court, so it will be some considerable time down the road before we get those sentences coming through, but you might find that the cases that go up to the Crown court get no more severe a penalty than they would have got in a magistrates court. We have to manage our expectations of what that will bring.
In my other area of work, dangerous dogs, following the legislation changes in 2014 and the 14-year penalty that came in for a dog dangerously out of control causing death, we have not seen significant sentencing increases as a result of that legislation. While the current provisions are very good, and we very much support them and hope they will come in quickly, expectations in the court outcomes will need to be managed.
I also want to pay tribute to the campaigners for Finn’s law, including Sarah Dixon, who was the leader of the campaign in many ways, and who is with us today.
I appreciate the Minister’s thoughtful and considered response, which was very helpful. I thank his civil servants for their work in responding to my amendment. I am pleased to hear that the sentencing guidelines will have a big role in deciding aggravating factors and it was interesting to hear that we tend only to put things on the statute books when they are major issues, such as terrorism. I was also particularly interested to hear about the fact that those responsible for animal cruelty films could already be prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003. As we move towards Royal Assent, in terms of the promotion of, and education and awareness about, the issues we have discussed in the Bill, I hope that that will be pushed further. I am particularly pleased to hear that as a consequence of the Bill the Sentencing Council has confirmed that it will have a public consultation and update the guidelines with reference to filming and sharing. I appreciate the Minister’s consideration and beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Break in Debate
The right hon. and learned Gentleman makes an extremely important point. One thing that has been quite difficult when looking at the evidence is some of the extraordinary cruelty against animals of which people are capable. The work he did with other colleagues on Finn’s law was really important, because service animals put themselves in front of their police officers or whoever they are working with to protect them. It is important that that has now been recognised.
It is important that we are finally giving judges the tools they need to start handing out the kind of sentences that are required if we are to have not only a punishment that will act as a deterrent, but a punishment that is right for the crime. We do not have that at the moment. In conclusion, the Opposition will support the Bill, and I thank everyone for their work on it.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Extent, commencement and short title
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
New clause 2 would provide for an assessment of the effectiveness of the Act, and for a report to be laid before Parliament. I hope the Minister agrees that it is good practice for our legislation to be reviewed, and for Parliament to have the opportunity to consider the extent to which it is achieving its objectives, and indeed to consider whether any adjustments might be needed. Within that, we believe that there is a specific need to examine the level of penalties available to the courts for cruelty offences across animal welfare legislation as a whole.
The Bill improves the deterrence impact of penalties for cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but introduces a two-tier system—maximum penalties for cruelty offences under the legislation listed in new clause 2 remain at six months. It is clear that offenders do not discriminate between wild and domestic animals in inflicting cruelty. The RSPCA has a shocking catalogue of offences, just a few of which I will mention: a wild rabbit hit with a log and stabbed with a pen; a sheep beaten to death with a gold club; a goldfish’s eye cut out; a squirrel set on fire; a cat chocked and suffocated; and two hens beaten to death. I find it extraordinary that anyone can behave like that.
How do we work out what maximum penalty should be available to the court in each of those cases? If a person kicks their pet rabbit, it should be clear that, under the Bill, the maximum penalty would be raised to five years, but what if the poor animal that has been kicked to death is a wild rabbit in the middle of a field? The nature of the offence is arguably identical, and most people would agree that the offender should face the same penalty, but would they? What about the case we heard about from the hon. Member for Southend West (Sir David Amess) on Second Reading, of a driver who put down chips in a road to attract wild birds so that he could then run them over? Should wild birds, squirrels or hedgehogs be regarded as under the control of man in a situation such as that, and would they come under this penalty? What about people putting out poisoned foods at a wild bird feeding station? What if wild chickens are taken and tortured? Is it different if chicks are taken from a hedgerow or from a garden nest box? These are genuine questions and I find the definitions confusing.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East spoke on Second Reading about cruelty committed against game birds that are specifically reared for shooting before being released in the wild. Where does that sit within an offence of cruelty? What concerns me is that guilty offenders might well seek to persuade a court that a lesser sentence should be imposed if the victim could be classed as a wild animal.
We heard in evidence from Mr Schwarz that the two-tier approach could end in confusion for both the judiciary and prosecutors. We need to consider carefully whether the Bill’s good intentions to deter the worst acts of cruelty could unintentionally lead to offenders targeting more wild animals. The Opposition are pretty clear that all animals are equal and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. As our animal welfare plan stated:
“Our vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.”
Our preference would be for the Bill to set a maximum sentence according to the level of cruelty in the offence, rather than whether the animal is domestic or wild, which I have discussed with the Minister. New clause 2 offers the option of looking into that and giving Parliament an opportunity to consider it once the Act has taken effect. As I have said, we do not want to delay the Bill—we want it on the statute book quickly, which is why we are asking for a review. I hope the Minister considers it and I look forward to his response.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Bailey. I believe that the evidence we heard this morning from both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the lawyer and police officer made it fairly clear that there was confusion about which offences come under the Bill. Clearly, there are questions about whether an offence relates to a feral cat or a domestic cat, or a wild rabbit or a tame rabbit, but there are also questions about organised crime. We heard from the police officer about dog fighting, which would come under this Act. Serious and organised cases of cruelty can now be prosecuted and a sensible and serious sentence incurred, yet the equally serious and equally organised crime involved in hare coursing probably would not.
All sorts of issues need to be tested in the courts. Very often in this place we seek to tie all the knots, cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s, but it is not always effective. We need to test these issues in the courts, but if they are to be tested in the courts, we need to review the result in order to establish whether the Act is doing what we intended it to do.
We heard from Mike Schwarz that serious issues will be aired by members of the public as a result of the sentences that will be handed down if, as we suspect, the sentences for domestic and wild animals are suddenly, obviously and publicly very different. We have heard on several occasions from the Minister that the Bill needs to be passed as soon as possible. We could not agree with him more. In fact, we could not have agreed with him more if he had said that 18 months ago, when we could have passed it. There is no good reason why, if we accept proposed new clause 2, that would add a single minute to the length of time it takes for the Bill to pass into law.
I urge us to accept the amendment and ensure that, whatever the results in the courts, we review them swiftly and effectively with a view to ensuring that we get consistent sentencing for consistent levels of cruelty.
I do not know whether the Minister would agree with me on a point that may need further consideration. If an animal is under a person’s control, does that not give that person a duty towards that animal? In those circumstances, is it not part of the wrongdoing that, having control of an animal, a person abuses it?
I thank the Minister for his considered response. He will probably think that I am a bit odd, but I have a copy of the report and the proposed legislation from the Law Commission by my bed. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Thank you.
I would very much appreciate a meeting to discuss how we take this matter further. Some of the Law Commission work is excellent, and it would be good to see how we move forward. On that basis, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
Bill to be reported, without amendment.
I can inform the House that Mr Speaker has certified the whole Bill, in accordance with Standing Order No. 83J, as being within devolved legislative competence and relating exclusively to England and Wales.
Is the Minister aware of the growing concern about the welfare of tethered horses? Many horses are attached to a short rope all day long, next to a highway, with no water and surrounded by ragwort, which is harmful to them. However, the authorities seem reluctant to take action. Might the reason be that the law is not quite clear enough in this respect, and if so, could that be addressed by the Bill?
Thirteen years ago in 2006 when the Animal Welfare Act was going through its stages, I proposed an amendment that would do exactly what this Bill does, so may I thank the Minister for bringing it in but express regret that it has taken 13 years to do so?
The Minister talked about the extra cost involved. If a case has to go to the Crown court, very often animals will have to be kept in custody or in care in kennels, so that will cost more. We also need to make sure we have proper kennelling so that the whole court system can cope. We very much welcome the extra sentencing, but that knock-on effect needs to be dealt with as well.
The Bill is hugely welcome. However, I am concerned about the narrowness of its scope, and my investigations have not been able to satisfy me that there are no potential areas of obscurity in it. Given that the Bill applies to domestic animals and not to wild animals, what is the situation in regard to, say, feral cats? Would somebody who did harm to their neighbour’s cat be subject to a different maximum sentence from somebody who did harm to a cat that was effectively feral and unattached?
I apologise for coming in a bit late. The Minister might have covered this earlier, but will the courts have discretion in relation to the maximum sentence? Am I right in thinking that there will be a scale?
Today has been a long time coming. We welcome the Government bringing forward this vital piece of legislation, although we regret that it has taken this long, considering that it has widespread support across the House and with the general public. I hope the Bill manages to make it through both Houses and on to the statute book in a timely fashion. It is imperative that it should receive Royal Assent and come into force as soon as possible so that our courts can start handing out appropriate sentences to those people convicted of inflicting terrible harm on innocent animals.
So-called mis-stunning is also an issue. I am not pretending that religious slaughter is the only welfare issue. Another area of concern, about which I commissioned some work when I was Minister, is the make-up of the gas mixture used in the slaughter of pigs, which was also problematic. Clearly, because it relates to pigs, it has no religious dimension whatever. There are other issues, and mis-stunning is one of them. The point about mis-stunning is that even if they get it wrong, they are there immediately afterwards with a second stun, which can resolve the issue.
I will conclude at that point, because we have only half an hour and the Minister will want to come back on some of these points. I seek to liberate him, the Government and all his successors from having to wrestle with this difficult issue. Instead, they should make it a free-vote issue and give it back to Parliament to decide.
Does the Minister agree that there is no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that shechita is any less acceptable than other forms of slaughter? Does he also agree that this country’s unwritten constitution has always made religious freedom a high priority? The changes that the hon. Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) suggests risk undermining the central tenet of our unwritten constitution, which is that religious freedom is important in our society.
I thank the Minister very much for giving way. He is dealing with this issue in a very reasoned way, as always. The European law says that all animals should be stunned, and there is a derogation to allow religious slaughter. We have to be careful not to wrap this up too much in the European situation. As we leave the EU, we must be much firmer on how we label and how we manage it, and we must ensure that more animals are not stunned than are needed for particular religions. We can do a lot more, so will the Minister speed up the operation? I fear that it is one of these slow operations that is not getting anywhere.
It is very kind of the Minister to give way. He will understand that there is a great deal of insecurity in the British Jewish community as a consequence of institutional antisemitism in the Opposition party. Will he reassure that community, which feels insecure and anxious, that the Government will under no circumstances ban shechita, which is a central tenet of the Jewish faith, in the United Kingdom?
I know that changes at the top of the market authority have been welcomed by the tenants, and that much better conversations are being had now than have been had for many a year, but I do not believe that this is an appropriate way for a public authority to behave.
Additionally, the new draft leases issued by the Covent Garden Market Authority are removing the rights of the wholesale tenants to operate in the critical and traditional way on the bit of the market that everybody loves so much, the buyers walk or trading floor, turning that essential space into a corridor rather than a market. I can honestly tell the Minister that removing that space will almost completely remove the heart, soul and character of the market.
In the new leases, the market authority has also changed the rent negotiation process and general service charge calculations, as it has now declared that it is in fact a commercial landlord. Those actions will inevitably result in many of the smaller companies based at the market closing as the site becomes unaffordable.
Since the whole process started, there have been vast changes in how the market operates. Goods are now mostly chilled instead of being stored at ambient temperatures, and businesses’ being able to unload big lorries, repick orders and deliver in quick time continues to reduce the number of large vehicle movements required on London’s roads. However, that makes the traffic studies more important than most people believe. There is yet to be a traffic study conducted that says the future design of this important food distribution hub for London will work; indeed, all those that have been done, or at least those that are in the public domain, say that it will not. If it does not work, the market will eventually die. All the catering outlets, restaurants and food businesses currently served by the market will not go away; they will simply be catered for by businesses that travel many more miles to get into London, further adding traffic and pollution in this great city of ours.
I do not think we can ignore the facts, stand back and allow the developer and the market authority to build a market that is functionally inoperable. Action must be taken. I hope that the Government have given due consideration to the effect on tenants, businesses and the wider economy if the market were to go into decline or fail altogether. There is no need for that to happen.
I would like to think that the Minister, whose knowledge of and commitment to solving these issues is both impressive and welcome, will continue to ask those on all sides of this debate to come together to find a mutually agreeable and workable solution—all sides meaning the market authority, the tenants, the developer and the Department itself. This needs to be sorted before millions of pounds are wasted in court and one of the most vibrant parts of London’s market culture possibly ceases to be.
The Minister is absolutely right that the matter needs to be resolved and that we cannot continue like this. The hon. Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) has already asked this, but I want to ask it again: will the Minister commit to meeting tenants and the market authority, and any other relevant persons who need to be around the table, to begin to move things forward? I know that he has already had meetings, but we need to get something nailed down to ensure that we can begin to resolve this. As he rightly points out, we must get the market to a place where it is fit for purpose, but that has to be done right.
I can inform the House that I have certified the whole Bill in accordance with Standing Order No. 83J, for Jemima, as being within devolved legislative competence and relating exclusively to England.
The hon. Gentleman talks about Kew being a centre of scientific research. For those of us in west London not blessed with wide open spaces, Kew is a treasure house—an absolute treasure trove of delights. The recent exhibition of Dale Chihuly showed Kew Gardens at its absolute finest. I hope that I speak for everybody on the Opposition Benches when I say we entirely support the hon. Gentleman, but particularly those of us in west London who absolutely love this treasure so close to our hearts.
We all support the work that Kew does and obviously want to support its estate strategy and the funding, but the point my hon. Friend has just made is important. Will he confirm that this is less about income and more about capital receipts? The significance of going to a 150-year lease is that the seven or so residential properties around Kew Green can be sold on a leasehold basis. Kew Gardens is also interested in developing the car park area alongside the Thames.
I note from the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) that there might be some question of a car park facility. Will the Minister ensure that, so far as possible, a low-carbon transport policy is developed for Kew? It seems ironic that we would do anything else, and there should clearly be sufficient electric charging points, sufficient public transport and sufficient cycling and walking routes to ensure that this really is genuinely state of the art for the 21st century.
Will the Minister read into the record a fact that is known to many of us, but perhaps not to every one of the vast number of people paying attention to the debate? Anyone who emerges from the main gate at Kew and strolls less than 100 yards up the road will find themselves at Kew Gardens station, where they can take the elegant District line to almost any place that their heart desires. There is also the London Overground. No one actually needs to drive there. There are three buses that stop there and two tube stations very close by. Would he care to note that for the record?
My hon. Friend will be familiar with the fact that it is typical with leasehold properties, particularly flats, for a leaseholder to have an entitlement to extend the lease before it reaches an 80-year cut-off period. With the type of leasehold we are discussing, will it be possible for a leaseholder to continue to extend in the normal way, or will it be a fixed term of 150 years only?
I am pleased to be able to speak on Second Reading. The Minister can relax because the Opposition have no intention of dividing the House. In fact, we hope that the Bill gets on its way speedily. I thank him for arranging for me to go to Kew last week. It was the third time that I have managed to get to Kew, which is a haven of peace and a wonderful facility. It is no wonder that it is a UNESCO world heritage site, and we must maintain that status and do everything we can do to improve it.
I welcome my hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Danielle Rowley) to the Opposition Front Bench. It is apposite that this debate comes before the debate on the motion relating to climate change. The Labour party believes that climate change must be given greater emphasis both in this place and outside. I hope that my hon. Friend can take part in future debates, but perhaps not this one because it will be fairly short.
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I haven’t even written my notes yet.
With the leave of the House, I will say a few things. It is important to do so, because various people have made contributions to this whole process over quite a long period. I welcome what not only the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) but my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing North (Stephen Pound) and the hon. Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) said, because they have all played a part in making sure that we get this Bill into play as a matter of priority.
I have two very quick things to say. First, I hope the Minister will answer some of my questions. I welcome the Government’s commitment to this Bill, because it is important. As I have said, the enthusiasm of the staff at Kew took me aback. It made me realise how much people care for this institution. Secondly, I hope that we will now be able to move forward with some of the other business that needs to come back to this place, such as the Agriculture Bill, the Fisheries Bill, and, dare I say it, the environment Bill, which should be an environment and climate change Bill.
Long may they flourish!
I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I know that if you were not in the Chair you would be speaking in the debate, but unfortunately you have to keep mum. I hope we have done enough, and that you feel our representations have fully covered the matter.
The issue has been covered well, with excellent speeches from my hon. Friends the Members for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) and for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes), and a number of interventions, including from my hon. Friend the Member for Bury North (James Frith), and my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd). I should expect nothing else, as a fellow cat lover. The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon), who is as expert on this subject as on everything else, also contributed, and there were interventions from the hon. Member for Aberdeen South (Ross Thomson). I thank the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Martyn Day) for introducing the debate. He covered nearly all the issues, and what he did not cover was dealt with comprehensively by the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Patricia Gibson), so I am left with an unenviable task: there is nothing for me to say because it has all been said. However, I want to give some personal witness, and to make an offer to the Minister.
I shall start with the offer. As has been said, the change in question is a small amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988. I thank Battersea, Blue Cross and Cats Protection for giving us full briefings. The amendment would insert the word “cat” into the list of animals in section 170(8) of the 1988 Act. On behalf of the Opposition, I make the offer to the Government to help them in doing that. We will play no politics in any way, and will just get the amendment in place. I do not know whether the change could be made by statutory instrument. That would be good, but we are willing to work with the Government. It would be a minor change, but an important one, which is why we are here.
The petition was signed by more than 100,000 people. For those who have had the experiences we have heard about, it is emotional. To give personal witness, I have had three cats that were knocked down: Wolfie, Tiggy and Darcy. The first and third I had to go and find myself, and the second was found and taken to the local vet. All my cats are microchipped. We were able to bury Tiggy’s ashes in the garden after he was incinerated. It is a very emotional thing. At any one time I have five cats using the catflaps in my house, and I think there are more, as we are generous with the amount of food we put out. I am a cat lover. To declare an interest, I am secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on cats—it is good to see my fellow member, the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran, here. The group is not necessarily very political, but in one respect the issue is political, because we are asking the Government to change the law. The change we seek would be limited, but we hope that, if nothing else, it will mean that people can say goodbye to their animal if it is knocked over and dies. Alternatively, if an animal is injured, hopefully something might be done to safe its life.
I will go on to my hobby-horse—although not for long—about what happens when someone knocks an animal over. Accidents happen, but most are preventable. It is purely bad driving. People drive far too fast and therefore they are responsible. My view of driving has always been that it is a privilege rather than a right. This is nothing to do with cats, but it is pertinent. There are a number of commons in my constituency, and every year cows and horses are put on to them. The Minister will know the reason for that: it is the only way to keep the grass down and maintain the quality of biodiversity on very important commons. Every year 10 to 12 cattle or horses are knocked down. If someone hits one of those animals it will not do a lot of good to their vehicle, let alone to them, but it is because they have been driving too fast. The other day at dusk I was going at about 15 to 20 mph, because it was difficult to see. Two idiots went past me doing at least 40 mph or 50 mph. They would not have had a chance of avoiding a cow or horse. It makes you think, “What planet are these people on?” Sadly, the owner of such an animal has to deal with the carcase, as it is usually dead. It is even worse if it is dying, as a vet has to be got to euthanise the animal painlessly. I do not understand why people do not see that it is their responsibility if they knock over an animal. I would widen that view to include wild animals, given the number of badgers, foxes and so on that get killed. If someone hits an animal, it is dangerous to them as well as the animal. A lot of road accidents are caused by people driving far too fast and then hitting something.
We are talking about cats. Most are somebody’s pet and really important to that person. People know when they have hit something. I am sorry, but it is not explicable by saying “Oh, I didn’t realise I hit it.” People should always stop and think, “Maybe they did run out. Maybe I had no chance. I hit them, and I therefore at least have to do something about it.” It is a criminal offence if someone hits a dog and does not report it. If their number is taken, they can be dealt with. We have put that into law. I ask the Minister, with the best of intentions: can we just include cats? Cats are, next to dogs, probably the second most popular pet. There are also many feral cats, which probably increase the numbers dramatically. That is why I am in favour of neutering, and have always done things in the past to encourage those campaigns. Certainly, Cats Protection will always neuter cats, usually for free, if people bring them along. That is why I also believe in microchipping. I support the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran in her view that microchipping should be compulsory, because we want to control cat numbers. That is right and appropriate.
We recognise that people who have a pet have a responsibility, but so do others who, perhaps in a genuine accident, knock an animal over. They should report it and ensure that the person who has undergone that loss can at least know what happened to the animal. The worst thing possible is when someone’s animal has gone missing and they do not know for days, or sometimes weeks, what has happened. There have been good cases when animals have been lost for 10 years or more and suddenly returned, although those involve very strange circumstances.
I ask the Minister in good faith whether we can make the proposed change. It may not be easy, but I hope that it could be done through secondary legislation. If it is put on the agenda, we will genuinely support it. I make that commitment. There will not be any funny games: we will not suddenly say, “We’re going to include other animals.” Let us keep it to cats. That is what the petition is about. That is what people want us to do.
I hope that the Minister will say some good things. At the moment, the Government have not committed to microchipping, as they should, for the reasons I have given, or to including cats in the list of animals that should be reportable if knocked over. It is not much to ask. Most people are horrified if they knock an animal over. Sadly, there are those who seem rather indifferent, but they should not be driving anyway, in my opinion, because they are a danger. It could be a child—that is the repercussion. We know how dangerously some people drive, and I am always mystified by how few people are banned at any one time, given how many people I see when I cycle around who seem to drive incredibly badly, and to be indifferent. We have to deal with that issue, but the debate today is on a narrower issue and we are talking about cats. If someone knocks a cat over, they should have to report it. They should deal with it, because that is the right and humane thing to do.
Can these changes be made by secondary legislation, or do we need to change that Act?
It has been a pleasure to take part in today’s debate. We have had a broad range of speakers from across the House, all showing a consensual approach—a very important point to emphasise. The request from the petitioners is for a simple legislative change, moving good practice on scanning into law, and it would be readily achievable. I welcome very much the comments that the Minister made and the commitment to move forward on microchipping, but I hope that he can make progress with the Minister responsible for local government on the scanning issue, too. I will be supporting my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Patricia Gibson) in pushing for Scotland to do that as well. There is a lot of positive work there.
Much has been said about microchipping. We heard from a number of organisations before today’s debate that of the cats being presented for rehoming, between 61% and 80% have not been chipped and many others have chip details that are out of date, so there is a lot of work that we need to do. The Minister’s comments will help us to move in the right direction, and I am very grateful for that; this really needs to be done.
I had a look at the DogLost site and saw a cat that was the spitting image of mine—albeit in a completely different area—so it would be easy to mistake one cat for another, but chipping removes the uncertainty. Blue Cross has given us details of a very positive case, and I have spoken about a lot of death today, so I would like to end on a positive note. Blue Cross says that Harry the cat was reunited with his family, after being missing for 10 years, because he had a microchip. That shows that it really does pay to get one.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House has considered e-petition 229004 relating to the identification of pets.
Many of my constituents feel strongly that stronger action needs to be taken against the rogue elements among breeders, and there will be a lot of support for the measures that are being brought forward. The Minister is absolutely right about the appalling scenes that we have seen. To what extent does he believe that the steps being proposed will not just make things a little better but end this evil trade once and for all?
Following on from the Minister’s proper remark about positive steps, does he agree that those who adopt rescue animals—dogs and cats, but particularly dogs—deserve a great round of applause because they are not only fulfilling their own needs but helping to provide a proper home to an animal that would otherwise be mistreated or abandoned?
Does my hon. Friend agree that we also have to stamp down on those who steal puppies to order? Many puppies are taken from outside people’s houses, outside shops and the like simply because there is a market for them. This measure makes the market more regulated, and that can only be applauded.
Everyone involved in the tough grassroots campaigning that took over 10 years to reach this point should be congratulated. I would particularly like to congratulate people in my constituency who worked very hard to get to this point. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that at the moment Wales is not included in this measure? Does he expect the Welsh Government to follow suit very quickly in doing a similar thing?
The Minister is absolutely right to publicise and to put on record how many excellent, responsible breeders there are out there. There have been occasions in the past where Governments have legislated for all the right reasons but ended up creating nightmares for some of the smaller organisations, in particular. What representations has he had on this, and how much can he reassure us that the legislation, as well as being robust, is sufficiently well drafted that it will not create unintended consequences for responsible smaller breeders?
I thank my hon. Friend for introducing this excellent piece of legislation. He mentioned Wales. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee visited a puppy farm in Wales about three years ago—I am sure that the Chair of the Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish), will touch on this—and it changed my mind on puppy farming. It was very disappointing to see that dogs could not be dogs. Could the Minister speak to the Welsh Government, to ensure that the information he has gleaned is shared with them and they can reach the same conclusion as us?
I am delighted to be able to take part in this short debate. The Minister will be relieved that we will not divide the House; in fact, we are very supportive of this measure, and we think its time has come. It has taken a long time to get to this stage, but that does not mean we should in any way undermine how important this bit of legislation is.
I will ask the Minister some questions, because this is one of a number of pieces of legislation that DEFRA is obliged to bring forward, and we are clearly still looking for improvements to sentencing. Dare I say we need a definition of sentience? It is also clear that even rehoming and rescue centres need to be properly defined. I will come on to some of the concerns about that a bit later. As I say, this is only partial legislation, and it has to be made part of much fuller animal welfare legislation.
Today, we will pass this legislation, which is lovingly referred to as Lucy’s law, after the King Charles spaniel that the Minister mentioned. I think it is rather nice that we have given it such a title because that animal was dreadfully abused. It was forced to breed many more times than she should have been and, even worse, the puppies were taken away in the most draconian manner. The petition gained 150,000 signatures, which proves that the British are a nation of animal lovers.
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My hon. Friend reinforces exactly the point that I am making: too many puppies will be smuggled in. We are getting tighter at the ports, but we need to get tighter still and have people there. They will come through at different times of the day and night when there is nobody about.
There is another linked issue. Legally, one can go and buy five puppies and bring them in. How many people buy five puppies for themselves? Very few in my estimation. It is a legal loophole. Basically, someone gets a fraudulent form signed by an interesting vet in some other country— I will be diplomatic today, which is unusual for me.
I thank the Minister for that sedentary comment.
Seriously, it is a problem. People can legally bring them in. If someone has a signed certificate from a vet in a particular country, they can bring them in. This could be another bonus from Brexit, dare I say it?
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It is a privilege to contribute to such an important debate, Madam Deputy Speaker, and to see you in the Chair listening to it, and it is a pleasure to speak about the important legislation known as Lucy’s law. I thank the Minister for his perseverance: a ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales is a momentous achievement. It has been supported overwhelmingly by the public, and it will make a fundamental difference.
Members of the public do not generally go to the dark web or illicit dealers to buy a puppy or a kitten, although they may do so to buy, for instance, drugs or guns. Most people who want to buy a puppy or a kitten want to make sure that it has come from a good place, that it is healthy, and that they are doing the right thing. This law is important because it will close the market for puppy farmers who are doing such a callous job in respect of animal welfare. Puppy smugglers will also take a direct hit, because there will be no legitimate reason for them to bring lots of puppies into the UK when there is no third-party market from which to sell them.
While the law will not close every loophole, it will tackle many of the issues that have been raised today, including third-party sales. Puppy farmers and smugglers survive because people are unaware of the background of pain and suffering and the abhorrent animal cruelty of puppy farms and puppy smuggling, which is masked because the animals are sold through third parties. Public education campaigns are not enough of themselves; they must be reinforced by legislation. It is confusing when people are told, “Always try to see the mother on site with the puppy that you are buying”, while puppies are being sold via the internet and even in motorway service stations, or through other third parties such as pet shops. In those circumstances, people cannot be sure of a puppy’s background, which is often hidden.
I want to thank, in particular, Marc Abraham. “Where’s mum?” is part of the Lucy’s law campaign, and I believe that both Marc and his own mum are here today. He has shown fantastic leadership in this campaign for many years.
It was an absolute privilege for me, as chair of the all-party parliamentary dog advisory welfare group, to launch the Lucy’s law campaign in Parliament in 2017. It has been a tremendous cross-party campaign. He is not here today, but I wanted particularly to mention the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), who has done so much to support the campaign. The public have really taken to it, and I have been described online a number of times as “the dog woman of Westminster”. They have missed out the cats, but I think that I would have to relinquish that title to the hon. Member for Lewes (Maria Caulfield), who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on cats and who looks after their welfare so well.
As I have said, this is a cross-party campaign. Support for it has been led tremendously well by Marc Abraham, and it has also been supported by Peter Egan, our patron at the all-party group. He is a great animal welfare campaigner, as well as being a fantastic actor.
I want to thank Pup Aid, Sarah Clover and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. We have received fantastic support from Ricky Gervais, Rachel Riley, Brian May, Beverley Cuddy at Dogs Today, and many others, including Andrew Penman of the Daily Mail, who has already been mentioned. That is to name just a few, but everybody has come together in Parliament—the public, celebrities and animal welfare campaigners—to make this happen. The legislation will follow in Wales, post-consultation; I really do believe that will happen. As the Minister said, consultation is under way in Scotland on a raft of animal welfare measures and I hope that what I could call “MacLucy’s law” will happen in Scotland very soon.
Today’s events are a tribute to Lucy, the King Charles spaniel who is the eponymous hero of Lucy’s law. She was rescued by the wonderful Lisa Garner. As we have heard, until Lucy was rescued she was kept in a cage for most of her former life until she was no longer able to have puppies and then discarded. Her hips were fused together, her spine was curved, she had bald patches and epilepsy and suffered years and years of mistreatment. She had three good years of love with Lisa Garner but unfortunately died in 2016, and the campaign was launched in Parliament in 2017 in tribute to Lucy.
With Lucy’s law we are working together to look after the “underdog”. We are also looking out for all the dogs behind the scenes in puppy farms, hidden from the public, and their pups, who are often sold at five weeks, which is far too young, with no thought for any care or welfare by those engaged in this horrendous activity.
I thank everybody who has campaigned so hard on this important law and the Minister. Lucy’s law has been very much a cross-party, positive achievement in this Parliament and testifies to the progress in animal welfare legislation in this House.
Cats, as Winston Churchill said, look down on us, dogs look up at us, but pigs look us in the eye as equals. I just wanted to make that point, as a dog lover more than a cat lover.
It is important that “MacLucy’s” law is taken forward across the UK, because we would not like puppy smugglers or farmers to feel that there is a safe haven anywhere. Given that so much has been put into the campaign, I ask the Minister to speak with counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to try to make sure that this practice applies across the board.
I thank my hon. Friend, and that is exactly that point that I wanted to re-emphasise. There is so much cross-party support, and I cannot see why the managers of business in this House, on either side, should be worried about doing this. I know that the Minister is working hard, but please may we have this legislation sooner rather than later? He promised us several times that this was going to be done very quickly, but I must question him gently on how quickly he means. When will it be?
She does not look 30 years of age, as my hon. Friend comments. She said to me when she was about 11 years of age, “Daddy, I’m going to be taken to a zoo by the school, and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to see animals in cages.” We have never gone to a zoo and never gone to a circus that has had live animals. My youngest daughter is 28 and my eldest daughter is 30. My eldest daughter is now a marine biologist, so the House can probably realise where I am coming from on this. If we are going to make a law that says that we are banning live animals in circuses, let us do that for them, and for the public. If there are animal welfare issues, that can be picked up, but actually over the years it has not been, which is why we are going to ban it ethically now.
Should the animals be taken if they are found in this situation? This is a really difficult grey area that the Minister is going to have to address. Why would someone travel with an animal if they have not been training it and using it? Why would they keep it in its winter quarters when perhaps there are better types of quarters that it could be kept in? If it is travelling, why would they do that if they are not using it within a circus production? I hope that there can be an accommodation in this Bill—whether in this House, around guidance, or as it proceeds to the other House, which will also understand that the public are with us on this—whereby we can do what it says on the tin. This Bill says that we are going to ban live animals in circuses—we are going to protect those animals should they be in a circus.
There will be loads of good will out there regarding these animals. The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport said that he tweeted out about this —yes, but they have to go to the right place. We are talking about myriad different types of animal that are used within circuses. It is really important that these animals go to a place of expertise to be looked after, because a lot of them may well have been through very stressful procedures. They may have been in a circus nearly all their life and then they are taken to a completely different environment. That takes a degree of professionalism and expertise. That has to be addressed in terms of payment, which should come from the circus, as they are the people who are responsible for these animals. They can be passionate about them. I have heard some of the debates in public over the years where they have said, “We love these animals.” I do not doubt that, but we need to say, “If we have a situation where we are going to have to remove animals from you, as an organisation, then it is not right for the taxpayer or a charity to pick up that tab—it is your job.” We need to consider how we can move that forward within the guidance. Perhaps the other House will debate this for a little bit longer.
We are trying, on principle, cross-party and as a nation, to get the animal rights part of this right. My kids—our kids—are driving this forward. It is like the environmental arguments that are going on out there at the moment. They are right, because it is their future, not our future. I have been lucky enough to be in Kenya with the military and have been in most of the safari parks. Seeing an animal in its natural environment coming down to the water hole in the evening because that is what it naturally does is an absolutely moving thing, not like seeing an elephant standing on its back legs in a circus, which is very damaging for the animal.
The House should be very proud of bringing this legislation forward. I would disagree only slightly with the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport on one thing. The previous Labour Administration had a huge majority—an absolutely enormous majority. They could have got whatever legislation they wanted through this House at any time during that period, but is a Conservative Government who have brought this through. I am very proud of that, but it should have been brought in years and years ago.
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There is concern about using two different bits of legislation to solve one problem. Would it not be clearer to cover this issue in the Bill, rather than relying on the Animal Welfare Act?