Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the timeframe for the passage of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on steering Finn’s law through Parliament. The Government remain absolutely committed to tougher sentences for animal cruelty offences, and we intend to bring the Bill back to the House as soon as possible.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

Thank you for my second go, Mr Speaker.

My right hon. Friend will know that the supporters of the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019 were also keen to improve the maximum sentences and to see them go up. Can she confirm that that will be a top priority for any incoming Conservative Government?

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

Oh Mr Speaker, I do not know what to say. I am going to miss this. Thank you for everything you have done for Back Benchers.

The Secretary of State says that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill is going to come back to the House as soon as possible; that could be Monday. There is cross-party agreement on this short Bill, and as the Labour DEFRA Whip I have the permission of our shadow Secretary of State to say that we support the Bill, we could crack on, and it could be done and on the statute book before Dissolution. Even at this late stage, why will she not put it on the Order Paper for Monday or Tuesday?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I can reassure the hon. Lady that a Conservative Government will put this Bill on the Order Paper very soon after we are re-elected to serve this country.