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Sentience and Welfare of Animals — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:49 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 5:49 pm, 16th March 2020

Okay. I will not take up that much time.

The Minister’s response has left me thoroughly confused and more than a little concerned, and I think that the people from the campaign “A Better Deal for Animals”, some of whom are watching here today, will be equally alarmed by what she said. It might not have been my belief, but my understanding was that the Government were committed, in their manifesto, to introducing the law as soon as possible. First, there was the original promise. Let us not forget that there was going to be a Back-Bench revolt. New clause 30 had been introduced by Caroline Lucas. The Government were going to lose on that. The Government made a promise that they would legislate, so that they did not lose. They bought off their own Back Benchers, as well as the Opposition, by promising to legislate.

Therefore, there was a promise to legislate before Brexit, which has turned into a promise to legislate before the end of the transition period. There was a manifesto commitment to do this as soon as possible, but the Minister has just said that it might well not be this year.