Requirement to amend definition of ivory

Part of Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) (No. 2) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 4th July 2018.

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Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Labour, Blaydon 4:15 pm, 4th July 2018

It is a great privilege to speak in this debate, which is of so much interest to many of our constituents, right across the UK. I would like to talk about four things. I will speak in support of new clauses 1 and 2, but first I will refer to a couple of other issues that we discussed at some length in Committee. It would be helpful to hear the Minister’s response regarding those issues, but they will not be fresh ones to him; this is well-trodden ground.

The first issue is that of cyber-security. This is an important matter, as has been acknowledged. Much illegal trading is done over the internet. In Committee, we discussed the need for proper measures to deal with that and heard about the difficulties in tracing that. Does the Minister have anything to say on that? If we are to make this legislation effective, it is important that we deal with the issue of cyber-security and cyber-trade.

The second issue is that of enforcement, which we also discussed in Committee. When taking evidence, we heard from Inspector Lou Hubble—head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit—who spoke particularly about cyber-security. She saw the need for additional resources to deal with the cyber-trade in ivory. Goods that are often presented not as ivory, but as bovine, bone or other sources are really difficult to track down. I wonder whether the Minister has anything to say about that.

Let me turn to new clause 1. It seems that we all agree that we need to extend the legislation to include other sources of ivory. We are all concerned that, if we ban elephant ivory and strengthen the measures against that, we may displace the trade and find that other species are affected. That is why I am keen, as are other colleagues, that we broaden the description of ivory in the Bill. I heard the Minister saying that an announcement had been made on this, and it is good to see that there is change and movement in this area—we all agree that that is important—but I still support new clause 1. Will the Government consider going that bit further and supporting the new clause?