Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:20 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 2:20 pm, 10th July 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Angela Smith, who has been a consistent champion of animal welfare since the moment she was elected to this House.

Hooray—Parliament is doing something! At long last we are making it worth while to come here. Colleagues should recognise that this is a broken Parliament. Why is it broken? Because we had an ill-advised general election, which my party obviously decided to hold. It was a disastrous result from my party’s point of view. We lost our majority and cobbled together some sort of alliance with the Democratic Unionist party. It has taken the business managers, who have come and gone over the past two years, a long time to get a grip on what to do in this sort of Parliament. At long last, they seem to have realised that there are things we can do. The Chief Whip has just disappeared, but one of his colleagues is on the Treasury Bench. I say to the business managers: if my party is struggling with a legislative programme for the new Queen’s Speech, why not consult the hon. Member for Southend West? I have a whole range of measures on which I think we could get some sort of cross-party support. Our constituents are very frustrated about the situation. If we are not going to have a general election, we cannot just keep on discussing meaningless motions. We have to get on and do something, and we could do a whole raft of things that could improve the quality of life in this country.

There is no point in our legislating on anything unless we enforce the legislation, so I was puzzled by the exchange earlier when my right hon. Friend Sir Greg Knight challenged my hon. Friend the Minister about cruelty to tethered horses. I listened to an Adjournment debate led by my right hon. Friend Robert Halfon on that very same issue. It is a puzzle to me, because in 1988, through a ten-minute rule Bill that became an Act of Parliament—the noble Lord Hogg was the Minister at the time—we got on to the statute book an Act to stop horses, ponies and donkeys being cruelly tethered and to make sure that they were properly watered and fed. For goodness’ sake, what has happened to that Act of Parliament? I realise that the longer we are here —I will come to the point made by my hon. Friend Bill Wiggin in a moment—the more we are forgotten, but that is an Act of Parliament. If we have the law already, it is no good people jumping up with suggestions; we need to do something. We need to enforce the law that already exists, so I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will do something about that.