Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:48 am on 4th February 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:48 am, 4th February 2022

I add my voice to the tributes paid to our friend Jack Dromey earlier this week. I was unable to speak during the tributes, but I want to acknowledge the strength and inspiration of the Mother of the House, my right hon. and learned Friend Ms Harman, and say how much I will miss Jack and all he did and meant to us all.

I will not detain the House any longer than necessary, because Andrew Rosindell has almost got his Bill through the House. At times, I wondered whether the Government were waiting in the wings to pounce, but obviously not. It can only be a matter of time before his hard work, tenacity and diligence is rewarded by ministerial office, so I just ask that he does not forget us on the way up the pole.

The Bill is important. Hon. Members will know that Opposition Members, particularly my hon. Friend Daniel Zeichner, have sought at all times to be a critical friend and to provide a wise and objective view. The Bill enables the potential use of penalty notices, such as fixed penalty notices, for a wider range of primary and secondary legislation related to animal health welfare offences.

The Bill encompasses two pieces of primary legislation that affect dogs and cats: the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It is a cross-party attempt to deliver improved health, safety and welfare conditions for animals. Like the excellent Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, we on these Benches broadly support the Bill, because it will enable statutory enforcers to take early action and provide them with the tools to deal with infringements of a technical nature.

I have been a Member of Parliament for almost three years now, and I have to admit that not all legislation has provided a clear and common focus and target, but this Bill does. I congratulate the hon. Member for Romford and all involved. I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of all those involved in getting the Bill through the House and wish it well as it goes to the other place. I thank the staff of the House, the Clerks, the Committee staff and the parliamentary staff in the offices of all Members involved. I also thank the campaigners, the stakeholders, the animal rights charities and the organisations who are fighting for decency and progress. It is great to see consensual politics in action and actually achieving results.

I acknowledge the hon. Members for Romford, for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron), for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Aaron Bell), for Brecon and Radnorshire (Fay Jones), for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson), for Crawley (Henry Smith), for Gedling (Tom Randall) and for South East Cornwall (Mrs Murray), and my hon. Friends the Members for Rotherham (Sarah Champion), for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Gwynne), for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter), for Canterbury (Rosie Duffield) and for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), who all served on the Bill Committee. That is a broad coalition of the willing from across the country. I gently urge them all to maintain their interest in animal welfare issues and support the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill and the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which are working their way through the parliamentary process. I know that Labour peers stand ready to act now.