MPs reject Labour attempt to revive scrapped animal welfare bill | Politics News

MPs reject Labour attempt to revive scrapped animal welfare bill | Politics News

MPs have voted down an attempt by Labour to force the government to revive its flagship animal welfare bill.

Last month, Downing Street confirmed it was not progressing with the long-awaited legislation, which was part of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto.

The bill aimed to clamp down on puppy smuggling and dog theft, as well as banning the live exports of farm animals.

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The government insisted it was still committed to these pledges and would introduce the measures through single issue legislation – but it has faced a major backlash from animal welfare campaigners and Tory MPs.

Labour attempted to force the bill back into parliament with an opposition day motion on Wednesday.

Despite many Conservative MPs voicing support for the return of the bill, the move was rejected by 256 votes to 183, a majority of 73.

Conservative former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the Commons: “We shouldn’t really, I think, have found ourselves in a situation where this bill had to be dumped. And we have to start all over again.”

He said “everybody” would have been in favour of a motion committing to progress the bill, but he dismissed attempting to take control of the Commons schedule as “politics”.

Conservative MP Dame Andrea Jenkyns said she was “immensely disappointed and flabbergasted actually to hear that the bill would be dropped”, adding that “the public want us to deliver it”.

But she also accused Labour of “using animals as political pawns”.

Animal rights campaigners have accused the government of trying to avoid debates on issues like hunting by scrapping the bill.

Shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon accused ministers of “running scared of opposition from its own backbenchers”.

“It is a Conservative bill in name and content. There is no reason not to support it,” he told the Commons debate.

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He also dismissed accusations that Labour was intending to widen the scope of the bill, saying: “What they really mean is that Labour has ambition for animal welfare, that we want to see the protections strengthened absolutely. But not in a way that would have derailed the bill. That wasn’t our intention.”

He said by rejecting Labour’s motion, the government “have just given the green light to puppy smugglers and dog thieves, showing whose side they are on”.

Animal charities were also furious in their response to this evening’s motion.

Humane Society International/UK said that while the government has been “dithering” over the bill for the last two years “tens of thousands of animals have suffered as a result”.

The animal protection charity’s senior director of campaigns and public affairs, Claire Bass, said: “With this plan voted down, we are left with the government insistence on its ‘plan B’ to deliver manifesto commitments to animals – to demote them to the lottery of private members’ bills, which are likely five months away from even starting. All the time politicians dither, animals are suffering unnecessarily.”

Dogs Trust veterinary director, Paula Boyden, said he was “sad” to see the Bill blocked, adding: “While Westminster continues to play political games, dogs are suffering horrific journeys to Great Britain, often without food and with little water, to be sold to unsuspecting buyers.”

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Author: Shirley