Thank you to everyone who wrote to me following the bitterly disappointing announcement that, after years of dithering, the government have admitted they are abandoning the Kept Animals Bill.
In the last few years there are few Bills that have attracted as much constituency interest as this one, demonstrating the strength of feeling about animal welfare in Islington South and Finsbury. I want you to know that I share your sense of frustration and anger that the Conservatives have reneged on one of their central manifesto commitments, something that I and many constituents have long suspected they would do as this Bill was kicked eternally into the long grass.
The Kept Animals Bill would have banned live exports of farm animals, and tackled pet thefts and puppy smuggling. I’m really troubled that this broken promise from Rishi Sunak has now given a green light to criminals and unscrupulous businesses to carry on abusing animals with impunity.
Unlike the Tories, Labour won’t be giving up on championing animal rights. That’s why as soon as Rishi Sunak said the government would be dropping the Bill, we forced a vote in the House of Commons that would have passed the bill and made it law. But, frustratingly, the Tories proved once and for all that they’ve given up on championing animal welfare and voted it down.
Nevertheless, our commitment to animals is undimmed, and we will continue to call on the government to do the right thing and bring the Kept Animals Bill back to parliament. But in the end, this sorry episode has only strengthened my resolve to secure the Labour government we need to legislate to protect animals from harm.
Please know that as your MP I will always stand up for animal rights in parliament.