Significant legislation to introduce one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world came a step closer to becoming law today, as the Government’s Ivory Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Monday 4th June, supported by Macclesfield MP, David Rutley.
David is the Interim Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) whilst Dr Thérèse Coffey MP recovers from a period of illness, and responded to the Second Reading debate for the Government. He highlighted the strong, cross-party support for this much-needed and important legislation, which will introduce a ban on the sale of ivory items of all ages, with only narrow exemptions, and introduce a maximum available penalty for breaching the ban with an unlimited fine or up to five years imprisonment. These positive steps will help to protect iconic elephant species for future generations.
In his speech, David also reaffirmed that the Government will continue to move at pace to get the ban onto the statute books, as quickly as possible. The Bill has been introduced to Parliament only six weeks after the Government published its consultation responses, sending a clear message of its commitment to global leadership on this vital issue. This leadership will be further reinforced in October, when the UK Government will host leaders from across the globe at the fourth international conference on the illegal wildlife trade.
The Bill has been introduced following widespread engagement with environmental groups and the antiques trade sector, as well as with the general public. More than 70,000 people and organisations responded to the DEFRA consultation on an ivory ban late last year, with over 88 per cent of responses in favour of measures to ban ivory sales in the UK.
Speaking after the debate, David said, “It was an honour to take this vital legislation through its Second Reading. The Bill will introduce one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world, helping to protect elephant population species for future generations. It is good that there was such strong, cross-party consensus on the need for this legislation, and I will continue to play my part in getting this legislation onto the statute books as speedily as possible.”