There have been 14 exchanges between David Rutley and Baroness Hayman of Ullock
|1||Tue 23rd July 2019||
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Second sitting)
|6 interactions (1,969 words)|
|2||Wed 10th July 2019||
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill
|2 interactions (596 words)|
|3||Thu 20th June 2019||
Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|3 interactions (216 words)|
|4||Tue 2nd April 2019||
|5 interactions (1,762 words)|
|5||Thu 7th March 2019||
|2 interactions (482 words)|
|6||Thu 18th October 2018||
Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|5 interactions (260 words)|
|7||Tue 9th October 2018||
Food Labelling and Allergy-Related Deaths
|3 interactions (739 words)|
|8||Wed 4th July 2018||
|5 interactions (1,910 words)|
|9||Tue 19th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Sixth sitting)
|24 interactions (5,440 words)|
|10||Tue 19th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Fifth sitting)
|28 interactions (5,397 words)|
|11||Thu 14th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Fourth sitting)
|39 interactions (5,514 words)|
|12||Thu 14th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Third sitting)
|68 interactions (6,593 words)|
|13||Tue 12th June 2018||
Ivory Bill (Second sitting)
|5 interactions (797 words)|
|14||Wed 6th June 2018||
Rural Crime and Public Services
|2 interactions (3,659 words)|
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.
Break in Debate
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.
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.
(1 year, 3 months ago)Commons Chamber
The role of tree planting in tackling climate change is well documented. The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart) promised during his leadership bid to plant 100 million trees. The Minister has been mentioning targets, so it is disappointing to read this week that the Government are falling woefully short—by 71%—of their targets. Can the Minister explain why that is? What is he doing about it? How long will it be before we see the Secretary of State’s targets actually met?
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. As other hon. Members have done, I thank the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston) for securing this debate and for keeping up the pressure to get this terrible activity banned. We need to keep up that pressure if we are to make progress.
There is huge public appetite for robust action to improve the lives of animals and strengthen the animal protections in our laws. We are a nation of animal lovers, and we want all our animals to be well loved and given the opportunity to live happy and stable lives. Puppy smuggling is just one of many serious animal welfare issues that all Members read about in our postbags. Since last year’s debate on the matter, I have been proud to launch the Labour party’s animal plan, which pledges to take increased measures to tackle puppy smuggling. It has received an excellent response and we are working on the next version, which I hope to be able to share with hon. Members shortly.
It is obvious that the humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for a civilised society. As parliamentarians, we must send out a strong message that the illegal importation of puppies is a cruel practice that must stop; there has been extraordinary consensus on that today, just as there was last year. The Animal and Plant Health Agency and many animal welfare charities such as the Dogs Trust, the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have done a lot of crucial and very welcome work to tackle puppy smuggling.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) said, it really is time for the Government to act. I know that their commitment to banning the third-party sale of puppies and kittens through Lucy’s law, which the Minister announced in December, has been welcomed by Cats Protection and many dog charities—it is indeed welcome, but we need to see results as soon as possible. The pledge to increase sentences is also welcome, but the legislation needs to be introduced as soon as possible so that we can debate it, scrutinise it and get it on the statute book; I hope that the Minister will give us some idea of when that will happen. In the meantime, Government agencies need the resources to tackle puppy smuggling by enforcing the current legislation. We need to ensure that we have sufficient border guards, with greater international co-operation between police forces to crack down on the problem properly.
As we have heard, dogs should be available only from licensed and regulated breeders or from approved rehoming organisations. Unfortunately, the current legislation does not protect the welfare of all dogs or the interests of all consumers, so the only solution is to ban third-party sales entirely. We have heard about the terrible treatment of smuggled dogs and the terrible diseases and health problems that they can suffer, as in the really sad story that the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire told. As long as there is a market for cheap, intensively bred puppies, such welfare problems will persist, because the incentives for non-compliance far exceed the penalties.
Availability may artificially inflate demand, so unless we reduce the supply of cheap, poorly bred puppies from dealers and smugglers, we will never bring a more responsible buying culture into society. Ministers have said that prospective buyers should always insist on seeing a puppy interacting with its mother in the place where it was born, but that advice is inconsistent with the ongoing legality of third-party sales, because it concedes that neither animals nor consumers can be protected by the regulations imposed on the industry. We therefore need a third-party sales ban as soon as possible.
I do not think that it is too ambitious to want to move on now, or to ask the Government to do more to enable that. Animal welfare must not be swept under the carpet or undercut, so I ask the Minister again for a commitment that he will continue to show that he understands the need for this legislation and that he will do everything he can to stamp out this appalling trade.
Break in Debate
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. In an area such as Cumbria, where I live, many visitors are perhaps not used to being with their dogs in the countryside and around sheep. The education aspect of the issue is absolutely critical, because I do not think that those people appreciate the damage that can be done simply by allowing a dog to run amok among a flock of sheep. We really need to raise awareness of the issue and look at how we can tackle it. I know that the all-party parliamentary group on animal welfare produced an excellent report last year on livestock worrying, and I ask the Minister to look at it and consider its recommendations on how to tackle the problem.
The Select Committee’s report is very clear in its recommendation that changing the law is widely desirable but also achievable, and that it will protect the public much better than the status quo. Let us get the legislation right in order to protect both the public and dogs. We need the right education in place, and we need to focus on how we can tackle irresponsible dog owners, not just the dogs. I look forward to the Minister’s response. I hope that he has paid close attention the recommendations of this excellent report. It would be good if we could finally start to move the issue forward.
(1 year, 11 months ago)Commons Chamber
Tree planting is important for ecological diversity and protecting vital habitats. Sites of special scientific interest protect the UK’s most important places for trees and wildlife, but a Greenpeace investigation has found that almost half of SSSIs have not been examined in the last six years, as required by national guidelines. Now that the Prime Minister has announced an end to austerity, what new resources will the Minister commit to, to reverse the alarming neglect and decline of habitats and species across the UK?
If the Minister cannot commit to new resources for our habitats, what commitments can we expect in the Budget to restore our beloved local parks, which are so important to the environment, health and local communities? Will the Minister confirm how much funding the Government’s parks action group has been allocated and how many of the group’s recommendations he has delivered?
Clearly, the recent news of these two deaths caused by allergic reactions to Pret a Manger products has been absolutely tragic; I would like to echo the Minister’s earlier comments and say that all our thoughts are with the families and friends of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Celia Marsh. These cases have demonstrated just how serious food allergies can be and the fatal consequences that can ensue. That is why proper, rigorous food labelling is paramount to our food safety standards. It was welcome that the Prime Minister called last week for a review of food labelling laws; that is something that I agree with and support. The Minister mentioned the review earlier, but when can we expect further information on when it will be completed and what it is likely to contain?
I appreciate that it is early days, following these events, but as we have seen, food labelling is a serious public health matter. To that end, what discussions have DEFRA Ministers and officials had with their colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care? We welcome the fact that Pret a Manger and other retailers such as Greggs have said that they will review how they label their food. Pret is now saying that it will list all the ingredients, including allergens, in its freshly made products, but we need this to happen right across the board. This is absolutely vital for people with life-threatening food allergies. Full ingredients lists should not just be a “nice to have”. For some people, they really are the difference between life and death. Food producers, suppliers and retailers have a public health duty to ensure that every food item is properly labelled.
Tomorrow, we will be discussing the Government’s Agriculture Bill, which will mean that the Environment Secretary will be in charge of our nation’s food production for the first time in decades. The Bill also provides a unique opportunity to put in place strong laws around food that could include the full labelling of all ingredients, allergens in particular. As we have heard, the Food Standards Agency states that food products containing the 14 main ingredients likely to cause an allergic reaction must be labelled as such and that manufacturers must then make it clear whether products contain those allergens. However, under EU law, as the Minister mentioned earlier, that can be done orally—it does not have to be written down—so customers will have to go out of their way to ask staff if allergens are not listed on a label.
I am pleased that the Minister referred to that anomaly but, as requested by my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn), does the Minister believe that it is time to mandate that all allergens must be set out clearly in written format? Will he provide the House with a cast-iron guarantee that there will be no attempt to water down any current food labelling laws after Brexit? For example, in US law only eight major allergens have to be listed, as opposed to the FSA’s 14, and any trade deal with the US cannot come at the price of watered-down food safety standards. We clearly need urgent action to ensure that British food labelling is as good as it possibly can be to ensure that such tragic cases never happen again.
We have had an excellent debate this afternoon, and it is great that hon. Members right across the House have welcomed and supported this important Bill. I thank the Minister for our constructive discussions in Committee and today and warmly welcome the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the hon. Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey), to her place.
I take issue with what some hon. Members have said about Government amendments 3 and 4 meaning that new clause 1 is not required. Our new clause would amend clause 35(1), whereas the Government amendments amend subsections (2) and (3), so they are not mutually exclusive. If we are to make the Bill as strong as it can be today and achieve as much as we can, I see no reason why the House cannot support both new clause 1 and the Government amendments. We would then today have the strongest Bill possible. I am a little disappointed, therefore, that the Government do not want to support the new clause.
Break in Debate
I just want to reiterate that Labour is not opposing the Bill. We have sought to strengthen it in Committee and today, and I trust that the Minister and Conservative Members who served on the Bill Committee would agree that we have demonstrated out earnest desire and efforts to do so.
It is good that there is clear, widespread, cross-party recognition that this comprehensive ban on the sale of ivory is needed. I thank the Bill Committee Clerk, Gail Poulton, for her tireless work with Members, for supporting me and my team and for her expert guidance. I also thank all members of the Committee from both sides of the House, including the Minister, for participation in a good-natured and thorough debate throughout. In particular, I thank my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) and for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard), and my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Anna Turley), who is no longer in her place, but was wearing a marvellous elephant dress earlier. I thought I was doing well wearing ivory-coloured clothes, but there we are. I also thank my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) and for Blaydon (Liz Twist), and my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) for his introductions to Obi-Wan narwhal. I thank all those hon. Friends for their support, time and dedication over the last few weeks. I also thank all the different organisations that have given us their time and expertise.
I would go as far as to say that there has been agreement in principle from all parties in the House for the premise behind the vast majority of the Labour amendments in Committee. All we were doing was seeking to increase transparency, remove conflicts of interest and clarify the definitions in the Bill. I will just highlight a few key concerns that came up in Committee.
We discussed an annual register of items exempted for having artistic, cultural or historical value. This was strongly supported by conservation groups during the Committee’s evidence hearing, and it would ensure public confidence in the ivory ban and that any exemptions applied were fair. Despite not supporting our amendment, the Minister provided an assurance in Committee that steps would be taken to ensure the utmost transparency and public confidence. In time, it would be interesting to have more detail on those assurances. We also asked for assurances regarding the potential abuse of replacement certificates, as the Bill currently includes no limit on those. Again, it would be interesting to hear from the Minister more about how any potential abuse could be eliminated.
The Committee heard that the National Wildlife Crime Unit has only 12 members of staff to cover its whole area of operations, right across the UK, and that this number includes administrative staff as well as enforcement officers. This level was a cause for concern in Committee, given the expanded responsibilities of the unit under the Bill. The Minister mentioned the potential for this being dealt with in the autumn statement—I think that is actually the Budget now, but it moves so often—so we would be grateful if the Minister acknowledged that these concerns exist so that they can then be addressed at that point.
The Committee also heard how the internet plays a central role in the sale of ivory products. I would be grateful if the Minister outlined plans for proactively policing and monitoring this online activity and mentioned what kind of resources would be needed.
This Bill is a welcome step forward for the future of global elephant populations. I look forward to working with colleagues right across the House to ensure that we continue to do everything in our power to stamp out the global ivory trade and preserve these iconic animal species for generations to come.
I will speak briefly to amendment 12, which I tabled following a suggestion from the hon. Member for North Dorset, who unfortunately is not in his place at the moment. He suggested that in clause 35(3) everything following the word “only” should be deleted, so that it would read:
“The regulations may amend subsection (1) so as to include ivory from an animal or species not for the time being covered by that subsection.”
That would allow us to look at non-CITES species, a point raised by a number of hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire. That would include mammoth, for example. There is obviously also the dear warthog. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East missed a treat this morning when the hon. Member for North Dorset threatened to sing a song about the warthog in order to draw attention to its plight. She might like to have a word in private, to ask if he could entertain her.
Amendment 11 seeks to extend the scope of the Bill. Amendment 12 would allow us to consider any animal that might be affected in future by displacement or removal of other species from poaching, for example. This is an important area to consider. I hope that the Government will consider it seriously, because it is a simple amendment that would attract cross-party support.
Break in Debate
I thank the Minister. During the discussion on amendment 11 and extending the scope of the Bill, it appeared that the Government’s main concern was about further consultation and a potential judicial review.
We have talked about how we could do the consultation quickly, and the Minister has made a commitment to talk to the Consultation Institute about that. As far as human rights go, according to the legal advice I have taken primary legislation can be challenged only on human rights and EU law grounds. I have been informed that in the case of human rights, the argument would have to rest on article 1 of protocol 1, on the “peaceful enjoyment” of property, but that is subject to a public interest caveat. On those grounds, we can justify the inclusion of other creatures—such as on the grounds of endangerment—in the same way as we can elephants. That is the legal information that I have received, so I put it on the record.
The legal advice I have been given is that that need not mean that we cannot extend the scope of the Bill and miss the conference deadline in October, which the Government are clearly keen to meet. I would be keen to look at how to extend the scope now, because that is what most people would prefer from the Bill at the beginning, rather than coming back to it through secondary legislation at a later date—we do not know when that would happen.
In response to points made during the debate, including by the Minister, I would say that the most important thing is to get the Bill absolutely right and to get it into legislation as quickly as possible. However, I do not think a conference date should be the ultimate deadline. We need to get the legislation correct regardless of whether that means we miss the conference deadline by a week or two—it is more important to get it right. A lot seems to be about the Government having the will to make the Bill the best they possibly can. We are in Committee to work with the Government, genuinely, to make a positive and helpful addition to what can be achieved though this groundbreaking piece of legislation.
I am disappointed that the Government are not prepared to consider amendment 12, because we know that non-CITES species are already being affected and are likely to be further affected by the displacement that we all agree will occur, or is likely to occur, once the ban on ivory comes into effect. We know that mislabelling as mammoth is used to confuse or misrepresent potential purchasers. The Minister talked about Schreger lines—I am not even sure of the spelling of that, and it is something I have learned during the debate. I had not heard of them, I would not know what they looked like and I do not think that the average punter would either, so I think it is important to understand more about what is happening with the use of mammoth.
Finally, I reinforce what my hon. Friends the Members for Bristol East and for Redcar said. We do not want to wait for an animal to become endangered before we step in and do something about its persecution. I ask the Minister to look again at amendment 12, but in the case of amendment 11, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Break in Debate
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
New clause 2 is about reporting on the international ivory market. We are asking that:
“Within 12 months of section 1 of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before each House of Parliament a report on the international ivory market.”
The idea is that the report would provide practical analysis of the impact of the Bill on demand for ivory in the United Kingdom and in other countries. Importantly, we would want it to consider the impact on nations or communities that generate income from ivory. We are also looking at the work of the Department for International Development in reducing the global demand for ivory and mitigating any negative impact that the provisions of this Bill would have on those nations or communities.
The reason for tabling the new clause is that it is important to keep a close, watchful eye on any implications of the Bill on the international ivory market and the communities that will be most affected by an ivory ban. During the evidence sessions, a number of hon. Members asked about the international ivory market and what contribution the Bill could make specifically toward deterring poaching and having a wider impact on the illegal worldwide trade.
Recent analysis has shown that the United Kingdom is the largest supplier to the world’s legal ivory market, with more than 36,000 legal ivory items exported from the UK in the five years between 2010 and 2015. It is also one of the largest importers to China and Hong Kong. As we also heard during the evidence sessions, seizure data shows that, alongside the legal market, the UK plays an increasing role in the illegal ivory trade in import, in export and as a transit country. The president of the Born Free Foundation, for example, said:
“Investment in wildlife law enforcement in Africa is really important.”
He also said that, in his view,
“there is a common linkage with our clear objectives in overseas development,”
which are to do with poverty and providing opportunities, and that:
“If we are not investing in the…areas where elephants and other species live, we are not doing a great service either…to the people who live…downstream from those protected areas.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 9, Q12.]
In the evidence session, the International Fund for Animal Welfare made reference to the discussion on Second Reading about how some of the Department for International Development’s budget might be used. I am aware that the hon. Member for Cheltenham also mentioned that on Second Reading. IFAW said that
“the impact of poaching on communities is not isolated from the illegal wildlife trade…There are good opportunities that exist with our overseas development budget to take a more integrated approach to delivering holistic aid and support and anti-poaching measures, to help build communities and tackle corruption...It is all part of a jigsaw that really helps, but our overseas aid is another part that we could potentially re-examine and look at, to provide better integrated aid.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 14, Q18.]
I do not know whether hon. Members saw it, but this morning CNN released a very interesting report on what has happened to the poaching of African elephants following the ban that the Chinese Government imposed on ivory on 1 January. CNN went to Mozambique specifically to see whether that ban was having an impact on poaching. I will just mention a few things about that report, because if we are looking to introduce our own legislation we need to look at the impact of other legislation on ivory from around the world, to see what areas we need to work in; perhaps that other legislation is not being as effective as it could have been.
One of the things that the CNN investigation found was that six months after that ban smugglers were still working with near-impunity. As I said, CNN went to Mozambique, to the Niassa reserve, which is one of the last great wildernesses in southern Africa. What the CNN team found was that the different officers who work there trying to stop poaching told them that corruption is the source of poaching. Looking to invest, along with DFID, to start to tackle that corruption will be really important if this Bill is to have the effect we want.
CNN said that the huge Niassa reserve should be home to thousands of elephants, but it is now thought that less than 2,000 are left there, which is really shocking. As part of its investigation, CNN also interviewed the people actually doing the poaching. Just as the drug lord obviously does not go and harvest his own cocaine, in the same way the people who are actually making money out of poaching do not go out and shoot the elephants themselves.
CNN went to a prison where there was a suspected poacher, and he said: “We were in the bush when we found a group of elephants. I shot the first one, then I shot the second one.” He then said that he had already spent a year in jail for a separate poaching incident. But his choices are limited; he said that he would do anything to help his family escape grinding poverty. He said, “I went poaching because I was suffering. I had nothing to survive on and I was desperate.”
So the poachers who kill elephants are usually poor and just looking for a way to feed themselves and their family, and often they do not have alternatives to wildlife crime. Poverty is causing poaching in Mozambique. Even if the Chinese ban had ended the market, or if the ban that we are putting place ended it, the poachers on the ground would continue this behaviour.
The new clause is designed to consider how we can do something to tackle that problem, take the focus of the Bill beyond just this country and do something to look at what causes poaching in the first place.
Break in Debate
I just make the point that, if we are serious about stopping poaching and having a real impact on the ivory trade with any legislation, it is important that we look at that global aspect, not just through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs but through the Department for International Development and maybe through the Foreign Office, in order to have a clear and holistic approach. It is easy for us to sit here and pat ourselves on the back and be smug about this marvellous piece of legislation, but if it does not actually stop the poaching and does not do what we say it will, we do not have any right to feel smug or pleased with ourselves.
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
New Clause 3
Assessment of enforcement resources
“(1) Within 12 months of section 12 of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must make an assessment on the resources available to enforce the prohibition.
(2) The report shall consider in particular—
(a) the resources allocated or planned to be allocated towards enforcing the prohibition,
(b) the potential impact of any change in resources so allocated or planned to be allocated, and
(c) the impact on other law or border enforcement activities of the resources so allocated or planned to be allocated.
(3) The Secretary of State shall lay a report of the assessment under this section before each House of Parliament as soon as practicable after its completion.”.—(Sue Hayman.)
This new clause requires an assessment to be made and laid before Parliament regarding the level of resources allocated or proposed to be allocated to enforcing the prohibition against ivory dealing.
Brought up, and read the First time.
Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.
Break in Debate
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. The new clause is about internet services, about which we had quite a lot of discussion during the evidence sessions and on Second Reading. The new clause provides for the power to require service providers to block access to material that facilitates a breach of the prohibition. I will not run through all the detail—we have all had it in front of us—but under the new clause, internet service providers may be requested by the Secretary of State to block access to any online deal that facilitates a breach of the prohibition, and the Secretary of State may obtain court orders to ensure that the internet service providers comply with such a request.
The matter has been discussed in quite a lot of detail. I am aware that the Minister has said previously that he feels the Bill is robust when it comes to internet services, but I respectfully say that not every hon. Member and every person giving evidence has agreed with that. That is why we decided to table the new clause: to try to toughen up the rules on internet sales and the Secretary of State’s ability to step in if they felt the internet service providers were not behaving as they should.
During discussions, we had a look at a number of items being sold on eBay. On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) talked about a recent International Fund for Animal Welfare report on wildlife cyber-crime and said that eBay had removed 25,000 ivory listings from its site in just one year. It is a huge number and it is a good start, but from what we have been made aware of during the evidence sessions, it is clearly only scratching the surface of the problem.
In response to one of my questions during the evidence session, Chief Inspector Hubble said:
“We would certainly welcome better self-policing and self-regulating by online auction houses with some responsibility on them for the items that they are making money from the sale of.”—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 43, Q92.]
By putting this responsibility on them through the new clause, they will know that if they do not take the ban seriously, action will be taken to shut them down.
We know, from having dealt in the House with issues around other internet providers and online digital companies, that they are not always the easiest to work with when it comes to looking at different legal aspects. It is important that they take responsibility for what they are selling. It is often a problem that they like to push what they are selling and what is said on their sites to one side. It is important to think about how they can be properly held to account.
During the evidence session, my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon asked a question of Alexander Rhodes and he replied,
“if it were possible the Bill should say that ivory may not be bought and sold over the internet because that would make it so much simpler for the enforcement guys.”—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 27, Q49.]
We know that that is not a practical solution either, so it is about how we can introduce proper enforcement.
Chief Inspector Hubble again said something that was worth considering:
“I would love to have a dedicated cyber-team looking at this day in, day out, with real training and a focused effort. Lots of people in the NGOs we work with are doing work around cyber-related crime. We are in the process of setting up a cyber-working group”—
that is with the NWCU—
“to try to pull some of that effort and interaction together”.—[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 36, Q63.]
That will be a significant resource.
We have talked about resources previously and I do not particularly want to do that now, but it is important that the size of the problem when it comes to cyber-crime and managing the internet is properly recognised and that sufficient safeguards are put in place. We need to ensure that we pursue every single avenue we can to stop the trade in ivory. Tackling internet ivory trading will be the best way to stop this. We know that, right across the country, no matter what is being sold, more and more people are selling online, so we know that that trade is likely to increase. From what we have seen on eBay, it is also likely that that is where the illegal trade—items described as bone or as mammoth—will increase.
I am not convinced that the Bill provides for tackling the internet’s facilitating the global ivory trade sufficiently to make a real difference. That is is why we have tabled the new clause. I would like to hear the Minister’s views on that.
I thank the Minister for that explanation. Schedule 1 states that a stop notice may be served on “a person”. It does not mention service providers or organisations; it specifically refers to “a person”, and the explanatory notes do not mention organisations, the internet—or online at all. I am not convinced that it covers what we are trying to achieve with the new clause.
Again, I thank the Minister for that explanation. It would help if it were properly laid out in the Bill that internet service providers are included, so that we have absolute clarity when the Bill becomes law and that people realise that that is not the best way of going about trying to sideline what the Bill seeks to achieve.
I beg to move amendment 9, in clause 12, page 7, line 40, at end insert—
“(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person facilitates a breach of the prohibition if he or she, whilst not directly engaged in the process of a sale, acts in such a way as to allow that sale, or other form of dealing, to occur.”
This amendment defines ‘facilitate’, which is not defined in the Bill, using the text from the Explanatory Notes to the Bill.
During the evidence sessions we discussed enforcement and implementation, and the potential for mis-selling and misleading behaviour. The exact definition of “facilitate” in the Bill was also discussed. The amendment is designed to clarify that. The explanatory notes give details on page 22. They state:
“This offence would apply to anyone who, whilst not directly engaged in the process of a sale, acted in such a way as to allow that sale, or other form of dealing, to occur. For instance, this could apply to the owners of an online sales forum if they were found not to have taken reasonable steps to ensure that an item was a) exempt from the ban, and b) had been registered as such. Further, anyone found to have advertised an item in order to facilitate a sale may be found to be in breach of this clause.”
We thought that it would be helpful to include the definition of “facilitate” in the Bill, and the form of words used in the amendment is based on the explanatory notes.
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On the understanding that it is clear what “facilitate” means, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
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I have listened carefully to everything the Minister has said, and I thank the hon. Member for North Dorset for his suggestions, but the idea of little old ladies being imprisoned for finding things in their attics is a little beyond the point I was trying to make. The National Wildlife Crime Unit will be directly responsible for investigating, and for enforcing the legislation once it passes, so we should take seriously what the chief inspector said. To remind the Committee, she confirmed that the unit had only 12 members of staff, so it is pretty limited in what it can investigate. She said that if the convention on international trade in endangered species brings something to the unit, it can tie them up for several months. She also said:
“We deal with the ones who have a complete disregard for policy protocol legislation. We deal with the ones who are deceptive, who lie and who want to make money out of this.”
It is not about people who find things in their attics. She continued:
“The burden of proof has to be manageable and has to be able to be enforced”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 39, Q79.]
We need to take seriously what she is saying. The Minister said that enforcement services should be able to take a view about whether someone should have known, but Chief Inspector Hubble said that was difficult from an enforcement perspective.
Earlier in our proceedings, the Minister committed to a rigorous education programme. If we have an effective education programme, people should know to check for ivory. We need a law that is enforceable and will make a difference. Otherwise, what is the point?
Question put, That the amendment be made.
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First, I will make a few points on subsection (4)(a) to (c) on the sentencing guidelines. During the evidence sessions, we talked about the fact that the Bill is not just about enforcement; it is also a deterrent. We have the opportunity to introduce sentencing guidance for courts in the United Kingdom to make sure that magistrates and judges have proper information when hearing cases. We agreed that we need good sentencing guidance to ensure that appropriate sentences are given. I welcome the inclusion in the explanatory notes of a table setting out clear maximum penalties and the different sanctions, which are imprisonment or the statutory maximum fines. I may have misheard, but I thought the Minister said that there would be unlimited fines. Will he clarify that point?
Witnesses at the evidence sessions also stressed the need for significant awareness programmes to accompany the introduction of the Bill—I also mentioned that point during the discussion of amendment 10—not just for the judiciary, but for the general public. Education of the public, the judiciary and the enforcement officers is essential. Does the Minister have any further information about how his Department intends to roll out an education programme to inform the general public and the judiciary about exactly what is required and how the Bill is intended to work?
The witness from the International Fund for Animal Welfare said that he hoped that having consulted IFAW on the draft legislation, the Department would also be willing to consult it on the guidance notes. Has the Minister thought any more about that? Another witness, Alexander Rhodes from Stop Ivory, made an interesting and helpful suggestion about how we can learn from some of the African countries that are members of the Elephant Protection Initiative, which has been working hard to develop prosecution and sentencing guidelines for wildlife crime, particularly in relation to the ivory trade. During the evidence session, he said not only is this an area where we can learn from what African countries have been doing about the ivory trade, but our Government have paid for it anyway. He gave the example of Angola, where a challenge fund grant is paying to review a programme of legislative reform, and for prosecutor and judicial training. Has the Minister looked at how we can learn from that initiative? If good work is taking place in other parts of the world, it is important to learn from it to make the Bill as effective as possible. Will the Ministry of Justice or the Home Office be involved in developing the judicial guidelines?
New clause 3, as we heard from the Minister, is about the assessment of enforcement resources. We would require an assessment to be made and laid before Parliament on the level of resources allocated, or proposed to be allocated, to enforcement of the prohibition of ivory dealing. Clearly, unless we have effective enforcement, the Bill is toothless. Enforcement is a critical part of achieving the aims of the legislation. Chief Inspector Hubble stated that point succinctly during the evidence session, saying that
“any Bill has to be enforceable; if not, it is just guidance. It is not legislation if it cannot be enforced.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 35, Q59.]
None of us in Committee wants simply to produce guidance notes to guidance legislation.
During the progress of the Bill, Members in all parts of the House have raised the issue of resources necessary to enforce the Ivory Bill effectively. On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) said that
“the ban will be meaningful only if it is properly enforced”,
stressing the need for the provision of
“a long-term settlement for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, as well as resources for the CITES Border Force team.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 111.]
The right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson) asked for
“a strong, firm reassurance from the Minister that this legislation will need enforcing and will need the right level of expertise.”
Enforcement is not just about funding, but about the level of expertise required. He said that the National Wildlife Crime Unit should
“be beefed up and properly resourced for the future. On the same grounds, the CITES Border Force team at Heathrow needs sufficient levels of manpower and resources, as they will be our front line of defence against illegal imports and organised criminal activity coming into the UK.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 105.]
I am aware that the witness from Border Force at Heathrow said that he had the resources necessary for enforcement at the moment, but clearly the Bill might have an impact on that. It is therefore important to understand the potential increase in workloads, including the possible impact on the ability to enforce properly.
On Second Reading, the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire also mentioned the National Wildlife Crime Unit. She expressed her hope that
“that the Secretary of State will be able to announce permanent funding for the unit, as its existing funding expires in 2020.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 116.]
In the evidence session with the enforcement agencies, we heard how the Border Force CITES team and the NWCU work in partnership, and that the Border Force no longer has an investigation function but hands over all its intelligence from investigations to the NWCU, with a view to the unit investigating the offences. We heard from Chief Inspector Hubble exactly what that involves:
“We collate that intelligence, develop it and research it to look at the number of items that people might be buying, selling or trading. We look at their associates. We try to map a network of people that they are linked in with, and ultimately we produce an intelligence package that goes out to a police force in the area where the person is committing the offences.
We have four officers who provide an investigative function to support police forces on the ground, and they work with police officers throughout the investigation: taking statements from witnesses, linking in with experts, compiling prosecution files, assisting with search warrants, and attending court to provide evidence… One seizure by Border Force can result in months and months of investigation for us, and we can compile hundreds of intelligence logs from that one investigation. At the moment, we struggle to disseminate all that intelligence back out to Border Force, to close that loop, because we just do not have the resource to develop that. We have to be selective in what we deal with”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 34, Q57.]
I imagine that every single member of the Committee is impressed with the amount of work carried out by such a small team—only 12 in total. The team does not just carry out investigations referred from Border Force, but works right across all of the UK wildlife crime priority areas, which is a significant remit outside CITES, including domestic wildlife, bats, badgers, prosecutions relating to birds of prey, freshwater pearl mussels and poaching. All of those sit within the UK’s strategic priorities, and the work of the NWCU is split right across all those areas.
A strong commitment to future funding is vital if that important work is to continue. We have heard that the funding is committed to 2020, but beyond that, the NWCU has had no formal indication that there will be continued funding, which clearly causes concern. It is unable to plan or commit to long-term strategies. It is very difficult for any agency to form business plans when, in 20 months, it may well not exist at all.
Chief Inspector Hubble said about the morale of her staff:
“It is difficult for me to keep my staff motivated when they have no job security—a whole raft of concerns are caused by funding.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 37, Q67.]
She was also asked about the potential increase in the number of investigations once the Bill comes into force. She replied that
“if a member of the public sees something on sale that they think is ivory, inevitably they will report it, which comes back to the issue of resourcing and how we deal with the potential increase in the volume of crimes”.––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 44, Q93.]
Grant Miller, from the CITES Border Force team at Heathrow was asked about the future of the NWCU and the implications for enforcement if its funding were to be discontinued. His reply was clear:
“Our ability to take cases and offenders before the courts would be impacted on greatly. We would be pushed into going out to each constabulary, looking for a supportive senior manager to take on an investigation on our behalf. If we were not able to find that, our activity would be just to disrupt and seize, and the threat would just continue.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 40, Q82.]
On Second Reading, the Secretary of State said he would look to strengthen and resource specialised enforcement to combat illegal ivory dealing. Winding up the debate, the Minister agreed:
“The work carried out by the National Wildlife Crime Unit is absolutely critical.”
With regard to its funding, he assured me that the Government
“are looking at that vital issue ahead of the IWT conference, and I am sure that the Secretary of State would be working on it with the Home Secretary.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 133.]
In response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh), the Secretary of State confirmed in that debate that
“in the run-up to the illegal wildlife trade summit this October we will be looking not just to ensure that we can continue to staff and support the officers who work in this field adequately, but to ensure that we go even further.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 98.]
Will the Minister give some more information on that commitment from the Secretary of State? When is the NWCU likely to hear about its future funding to support the delivery the Bill?
The Minister also confirmed that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be the regulator. He spoke about that a moment ago, but will he elaborate on how the reporting requirements will work with the regulator? How does he see the regulator reducing the burden on the enforcement services, as he mentioned in his previous statement?
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Amendment 13 is pretty straightforward. It was designed to clarify the circumstances in which the Secretary of State will consider criminal sanctions to be more appropriate than civil sanctions. We propose to insert it into paragraph 21 of schedule 1 in order to be absolutely clear about why a criminal sanction would come into play, as opposed to a civil sanction. The Minister said that the bulk of cases will come under civil sanctions, but what is the tipping point? We feel that anyone involved in this will need to understand properly the circumstances in which the Secretary of State would consider a case to have tipped into a criminal sanction.
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I thank the Minister for providing that detail. Schedule 1 states that the Secretary of State must
“prepare and publish guidance as to”—
this is in paragraph 21(1)(c)—
“the circumstances in which the Secretary of State is likely to take any such action.”
Does that clearly explain whether he would consider criminal sanctions to be more appropriate than civil questions? Perhaps further clarification could be given in the guidance that accompanies the Bill, because it is important for people to understand whether these are criminal or civil sanctions. Could the guidance be elaborated to make that clear?
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Further to that point, the situation has been described as possibly unprecedented. How often does the Minister see these civilian officers taking part in investigations? Would that be rare or a regular part of the enforcement process? That would clearly affect resources and training. I would be grateful for clarification on that.
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I beg to move amendment 11, in page 20, line 40, leave out “an elephant” and insert “a hippopotamus, elephant, killer whale, narwhal, sperm whale, or walrus.”
This amendment would include in the definition of ivory all the ivory-bearing species listed in an Appendix to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
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Amendment 11 would include under the definition of ivory all the ivory-bearing species listed in an appendix to CITES. We have discussed the definition of ivory at length at every stage of the Bill, so I want to consider some of the discussion that we have had.
On Second Reading, the Secretary of State said that there would be an opportunity in Committee to consider whether the scope of the Bill was absolutely as it should be. He said:
“A number of Members have previously indicated their interest in extending its scope to other forms of ivory, such as narwhal horns, and there will indeed be an opportunity to debate precisely that matter in Committee.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2018; Vol. 642, c. 92.]
With amendment 11, I am taking the Secretary of State up on that generous offer and considering it in more detail.
I know how the Minister appreciates it.
Several hon. Members, some of whom are members of the Committee and others who are not but took part in the Second Reading debate, have spoken about why they feel it is really important that we look at extending the Bill’s scope. They include my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East, who I believe is paired today, the hon. Members for Mid Derbyshire and for North Dorset, who are both here today, the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and the hon. Members for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), for North East Hampshire (Mr Jayawardena), for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mrs Trevelyan), for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman), for Witney, and for Southend West (Sir David Amess). They all raised the specific issue of extending the scope on Second Reading.
I have a small comment about the points made by the hon. Member for Cheltenham. In relation to the fairness and openness of what we are trying to achieve, keeping the exemptions as small and as tight as possible is important, and we would support that. The enforcement officers we heard from on Tuesday made it clear that they would want as few exemptions as possible in order to do their job successfully.
The evidence we took on Tuesday from musicians was interesting. They supported and broadly agreed with the measure, and were pleased with the exemptions because they will allow them to continue to work as musicians, whether professional or amateur. It was particularly interesting, however, to hear them say that they have had to deal most recently with the rosewood legislation, which CITES brought in last year. Rosewood is a protected species and that has had a big knock-on effect on the music industry because of the number of instruments made from rosewood.
The musicians said that that legislation had resulted in them having to fund a large education programme for their members and the wider music industry, so that the music industry understood that rosewood was now a protected product. They said that the legislation has had a large impact on the music industry, both in manufacturing and in buying and selling. I raise the issue because they said that it has been a really big challenge for them. Although they welcome and support the Ivory Bill, it would also create similar challenges, as they would have to do a fairly large education programme right across the industry—all sorts of people have musical instruments and many people have very old instruments, which might be in their attic—just to get that understanding across.
Education was discussed on a number of occasions in the evidence sessions. What kind of educational support programmes and guidance are the Government considering in relation to the Bill? Are they seeking to work in particular with industries, such as the Musicians Union, to get that information across to its members? Otherwise, it is a huge burden on them to do it on their own.
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I will ask the Minister for a couple of clarifications; these may be covered in the Bill, but I am flicking backwards and forwards. First, the Minister mentioned the new regulator when talking about education and information. Are the Government saying that the new regulator will have a duty to educate and inform the affected industries? Just so I am clear, how will it work with the Department? If the Government have not decided, that is fine; I just want to know where we are.
Secondly, although this may well be covered in the Bill, I want to return to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East about certifications when going abroad for repairs. If someone has sent an instrument abroad for repair, not having realised that they should have registered it—which is obviously one concern of the Musicians’ Union—and is told that they cannot bring the instrument back into the country, will there be a method whereby they can apply for that certification in order to bring that instrument over? I am just trying to get clarity, so that I know exactly where we are on those particular issues.
I beg to move amendment 6, in clause 9, page 5, line 31, leave out from “that” to end of line 33.
This amendment would only permit acquisitions by qualifying museums to be exempt if the item is also registered under section 10, in all circumstances.
We tabled the amendment because we felt that clause 9(2)(a), which relates to acquisitions by qualifying museums, was also covered under clause 10 in all circumstances. The issue is whether paragraph (a) is strictly necessary. Surely all ivory items will be registered under clause 10, if they are held by a qualifying museum. I am just trying to join up clauses 9 and 10 logically, but I may have missed the reason why the provision is in the Bill. We would like clarification of what otherwise seems to be unnecessary confusion. Will the Minister enlighten us?
I am not entirely sure what kinds of items are covered. Surely any exempted item is covered by clause 10. I am trying to understand what items we are considering.
I thank the Minister for that extremely helpful explanation. Basically, he is talking about items that would not come under the exemptions because they are not the rarest and most sought after, but are important items in the context of an exhibition. That would be allowed to take place only within the confines of a museum; it could not take place universally.
I thank the Minister for that explanation. We are all aware that this is a complex Bill, and the exemptions are even more complex. It is important that we get this right and that there is a proper understanding of the purpose of each clause. I fully understand that explanation, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment proposed: 7, in clause 10, page 6, line 34, at end insert—
‘(1A) In the case an exemption under section 7 or 8, an item only satisfies the relevant exemption conditions if the volume of ivory in the item relative to the total volume of the material of which the item is made has been calculated in accordance with a method provided in guidance by the Secretary of State.’—(Sue Hayman.)
This amendment requires a person registered an pre-1947 item with less than 10% ivory content, or a pre-1975 musical instrument with less than 20% ivory content, to calculate the ivory content according to a method set by the Secretary of State in guidance.
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In amendment 7 we are looking at an item that has been exempted under clause 7 or clause 8. The item would then only satisfy the relevant exemption conditions,
“if the volume of ivory in the item relative to the total volume of the material of which the item is made has been calculated in accordance with a method provided in guidance by the Secretary of State.”
The amendment requires anyone registering a
“pre-1947 item with less than 10% ivory…or a pre-1975 musical instrument with less than 20%”,
to calculate the ivory to a set, prescribed methodology.
We looked at tabling this amendment following the oral evidence we took on Tuesday from the Chairman of the British Art Market Federation. I asked a question about volume and measurement and how that would work, and his concern was that there could be discrepancies in the way that volume was measured. There was a clear appreciation of the fact that measuring by volume is the right way to move forward; it is much more practical than measuring by weight. If we are going to measure by volume, it would be helpful to have a clear and consistent method of calculation so that nobody accidentally falls into criminality because they use a system of measurement that is not recognised by the Secretary of State. We just seek to provide clarity to the music and art world, and to museums, that, “This is the prescribed method, and we expect you to use this system if you are to get your certification.”
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New clause 4 would establish a record of any item’s provenance. Items to be exempted are, as we know, the most rare and most important of their kind. When such important items are sold, whether privately, individually or through an auction house for museums or galleries, their provenance would tend to move with them so that the purchaser has confidence that the item is genuine and knows who bought it before and where it has been stored or exhibited.
The idea is for the Secretary of State to make arrangements so that persons applying for an exemption certificate under clause 3 or registering an item under clause 10 could associate the item to which the application or registration relates with previous registrations or exemption certificates. Where an exemption certificate has previously been issued in respect of an item or an item has been previously registered and the Secretary of State is satisfied that that is the case, the exemption certificate would also record previous exemption certificates issued and registrations made in respect of that item. In particular, it would include relevant dates so that any certification or registration follows the item. The Minister has made it clear that registration is for the item, not the individual, so it makes sense for the history to move with the item as it goes through any future registrations or exemptions.
On Second Reading, the Secretary of State stressed the importance of ensuring that an item’s provenance can be guaranteed, and that is what the new clause tries to achieve. It would provide security for future owners, who would have full details of an item’s history in this area, as is normal for many items sold or within the art world. It would also helpfully flag up any replacement certification. It may also be helpful in trying to counteract any fraudulent behaviour regarding multiple replacement certificates. If those previous certifications followed the item, it would be very clear if there was a particular item for which a number of replacement certificates were being requested. I ask the Minister to consider the value the new clause could bring to future owners of the items we are talking about.
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Yes, it has—I thank the Minister for his support on that. On the total volume, as long as the guidance that is provided to support the Bill once it has become law is clear about support for individuals who are assessing the volume of their items, and that any accidental criminality, owing to people falling on the wrong side slightly of the volume calculation, is avoided, I will withdraw the amendment. The guidance needs to be clear about the implications and the best way to find help and support. We are talking about musical instruments: people might not have any idea how to calculate this, so there needs to be proper access to people who can. It is important that that information is easily available so that people do not accidentally fall on the wrong side of the law. If the Minister can give me that reassurance, I will be happy to withdraw the amendment.
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Further provision about registration
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
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I thank the Minister and congratulate him on getting through that. I find this clause complex. I worry that existing and future owners might get confused about what is expected of them and when it is expected. Again, clear guidance will be incredibly important. The explanatory notes state:
“If a new owner wishes to carry out dealings in that ivory item, they must make a fresh registration”—
but a fresh registration from what? Is that fresh from the exemption certificate or an existing registration? I find that slightly confusing.
Yes, it does. I am thinking about the comparison with car registration that my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East used earlier. The language is complex, but it would be good if it were absolutely crystal clear where the responsibility lies, and when in respect of registering items. If that is not clear in the Bill, or if I have missed it, how can we make it obvious to any purchaser or seller so that people do not accidently fall foul of the law?
I thank the Minister for his response. I support the idea that the Bill needs to be robust—if it is not, we will not achieve the desired ends. Registration will affect many more people than the exemption certificates, so it is important that when the Bill becomes law there is an absolutely clear understanding of what is expected of people and the deadlines.
I thank the Minister for his speech and for recognising the importance of our working together constructively across the House on this very important Bill, because the Labour party welcomes this Bill. It is a good piece of legislation and one that we wish to support.
The amendments and new clauses that we have tabled for debate in Committee have been tabled in the spirit of co-operation, to improve the Bill and make it the best it can possibly be, as we work to ban the ivory trade.
I have a small query about subsection (2). During the evidence sessions, concerns were expressed by museums staff about the definition of “dealing” and about how loans for exhibitions could fall foul of the Bill. For example, Anthony Misquitta of the Victoria and Albert Museum said:
“The terminology used in the Bill is ‘dealing’, and the definition of dealing includes the word ‘hiring’. I am sure the intention is not to capture these loans, but as it is currently drafted the Bill does capture them.”––[Official Report, Ivory Public Bill Committee, 12 June 2018; c. 61.]
In the Bill’s explanatory notes, page 9 says quite clearly that,
“the prohibition applies to the exchange of ivory for any good or service and, therefore, is not restricted to financial transactions, or exchanges for money.”
Hiring or offering to hire ivory are prohibited activities; such activities include temporarily obtaining an ivory item in return for a payment or other exchange of goods.
Therefore museums raised the concerns that loans of ivory for exhibition could fall foul of subsection (4) (b), and be seen as “hiring” the ivory, although they would receive nothing in return. Can the Minister confirm for me and reassure museums that that will not be the case, and that loans to and from museums will not fall foul of the legislation? Also, could appropriate guidance be provided to museums that are supporting the Bill, so that they can properly understand the situation?
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I thank the Minister for that explanation. I ask for one more small clarification, which I think should be quite straightforward. Subsection (5) talks about prescribed institutions, and page 10 of the explanatory notes says that it
“confers a delegated power on the Secretary of State…to designate and update a list of institutions”.
However, the Bill does not mention updating. Will the Minister clarify that that is the position?
Will the Minister also clarify whether that provides the Secretary of State with the ability to remove an institution if for any reason that institution does not meet the required standard?
I beg to move amendment 1, in clause 3, page 2, line 29, leave out “a person” and insert
“An owner of an item when”.
This amendment would clarify that only the owner of an item can apply for an exemption.
This should be fairly straightforward. It refers back to clause 2(4), which, as we have just heard from the hon. Member for Cheltenham, states:
“An exemption certificate for an item may be issued only on the application of the owner of the item.”
However, clause 3(1) states:
“A person applying for an exemption certificate for an item must—”.
To tidy this up so that both subsections use the same language and to avoid any confusion, the amendment suggests amending clause 3(1) to read:
“An owner of an item when applying for an exemption certificate for an item must—”,
so that those two subsections work together effectively and efficiently.
I am happy to withdraw the amendment. With reference to what the hon. Member for Cheltenham said earlier, it would be good if the guidelines clarified exactly what some of the terminology means and who is then applicable.
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
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Amendments 2 and 3 takes us back to concerns raised with me about potential conflicts of interest when prescribed institutions acquire an item. Amendment 2 is designed to give confidence that acquisitions are transparent and that conflicts of interest would therefore not arise. There are also concerns about conflicts of interest between nominated assessors and prescribed institutions, but I will come on to that when I speak to amendment 3. On amendment 2, I hope the Minister will want to ensure that the Bill is as transparent as possible and that we do not have a situation in which conflicts of interest can arise between a prescribed institution and anyone else involved in the application.
As I have said, amendment 3 is designed to deal with conflicts of interest between nominated assessors and prescribed institutions. The concern is that the Secretary of State prescribes the institutions but the institutions can then choose their own assessors who may not be employed by the institutions. We need to be clear that there is no vested interest and no conflict within the commercial trading. The amendment seeks assurances that there are no conflicts of interest in the appointment of an assessor and that if any concerns arise at a later date the Secretary of State will be able to step in and take action. Both amendments seek to minimise the risk of conflicts of interests, in order to give full confidence in the certification process.