All 7 Lord Gardiner of Kimble contributions to the Ivory Act 2018

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Tue 17th Jul 2018
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2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 10th Sep 2018
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Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 10th Sep 2018
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Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard - continued): House of Lords
Wed 12th Sep 2018
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Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wed 24th Oct 2018
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Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords
Wed 24th Oct 2018
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Report stage (Hansard - continued): House of Lords
Tue 13th Nov 2018
Ivory Bill
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3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 17th July 2018

(5 years, 12 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Consideration of Bill Amendments as at 4 July 2018 - (4 Jul 2018)
Moved by
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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That the Bill be now read a second time.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, I should declare at this juncture that I have a small number of ivory objects, which I was given many years ago and have no intention of selling.

The legislation has a vital purpose: this country will play its part in helping to save the elephant from extinction. We are showing leadership—the ban on the sale of elephant ivory objects of all ages, with only limited exemptions, will be the strongest in Europe and among the strongest in the world.

The numbers are stark. About 20,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year—that is around 55 each day. To put these figures into context, since 2006, the total number of elephants in Africa has decreased by some 21%, with numbers of savannah elephants declining by 30%—equal to 144,000 elephants—between 2007 and 2014 alone.

The human cost is real too, with over 100 rangers dying in one year between July 2016 and 2017. UN reports recognise the link between wildlife and arms trafficking in central Africa, with illegal wildlife trade—IWT—helping to finance armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army. Environmental crime, which includes IWT, is the fifth most lucrative serious organised crime. IWT alone is worth up to £17 billion per annum, fuelling corruption and instability, and devastating animal populations.

That elephants now face the prospect of being wiped out by criminality and, I am afraid, by plain avarice, is simply unacceptable. But such a tragedy is not inevitable. We have an opportunity, and a duty, to be part of international efforts to change this course. In 2014, we hosted the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, where the UK secured ambitious agreements from more than 40 Governments and the EU to take urgent, co-ordinated action to combat IWT. I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Hague of Richmond for his pivotal role in this.

Since then, an even clearer international consensus recognises that IWT is a global crisis in need of global solutions. In April this year, the 2018 G7 communiqué committed members,

“to working together to strengthen … law enforcement and tackle associated corruption”,

and closing illegal demand markets, “including elephant ivory”.

We know that the illegal wildlife trade must be tackled by sustained action across many fronts. Indeed, the UK has committed £26 million on efforts to combat IWT, including supporting 61 projects around the world under the IWT Challenge Fund. We are training anti-poaching African park rangers and sharing Border Force expertise in key demand states, such as Vietnam. We are providing funding to Interpol and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime to support their global enforcement operations. We are supporting projects to provide alternative sources of income to local communities in key poaching areas, and to identify and disrupt illicit financial flows linked to IWT.

While this is indeed a global crisis, the effects are felt most acutely in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, particularly in Africa. IWT not only helps to drive corruption and undermine the rule of law, but has a crippling effect on nascent wildlife tourism and other opportunities for sustainable development.

African states cannot, and should not, be left to tackle IWT in isolation. They have called on the international community to help, and to recognise that this includes closing down markets which help to fuel poaching. In March this year, the Presidents of Botswana, Gabon and Uganda joined 29 other African elephant range states in signing a petition to urge the EU to close its ivory markets. The United States and China have already closed theirs; Hong Kong and Taiwan, two critical demand markets, are in the process of doing so. All recognise that reducing demand is a critical part of a comprehensive response to the crisis.

The government consultation on ivory received over 70,000 individual responses, of which the overwhelming majority—some 88%—favoured an ivory ban. We have worked extensively with conservation NGOs, the arts and antiques sector, and the musician and museum sectors to help shape this Bill. Your Lordships will be aware that there are already restrictions on the trade in post-1990 ivory under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species—CITES. The EU has gone further in banning the export of raw ivory. We need to go further. Elephants are still being poached and killed for their ivory at unsustainable rates. Record quantities were illegally traded in 2016.

The UK has a world-renowned arts and antiques sector and one of the world’s largest markets for antique ivory. Under existing legal restrictions, in the UK only items of, or containing, ivory which have been worked before 1947 can be sold without a permit. But it is extremely difficult to differentiate legal from illegal ivory, meaning that legal markets can be used to “launder” new ivory sourced from recently killed elephants. Indeed, UK Border Force has seized many ivory items that had been artificially aged, often through such crude but effective means as staining them with tea.

The UK is one of the largest suppliers of “legal” ivory items to the world’s ivory markets. The majority of this goes to east Asia, where demand is the highest. According to TRAFFIC—the wildlife trade monitoring network founded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and WWF—between 2005 and 2009 the number of ivory items exported from the UK to mainland China was 2,000. Between 2010 and 2014, that number had increased to about 11,000. In 2010 a UN Office on Drugs and Crime report concluded that,

“the trade in illicit ivory is only lucrative because there is a parallel licit supply, and ivory can be sold and used openly. Ivory would lose much of its marketability if buying it were unequivocally an illegal act, or if ownership of these status goods had to be concealed”.

This is not about casting judgment on those, including previous generations, who may have been ignorant of the destructive impact of the ivory trade, but it is a clear-sighted assessment of the facts as we find them: the rise in demand for ivory in east Asia; the increasingly organised nature of poaching operations; and the catastrophic impact on animal populations and vulnerable communities. We simply cannot claim to be ignorant any more. We can act and we must.

The Ivory Bill will introduce a total ban, with narrow and limited exemptions, on commercial activities involving ivory in the UK that could be directly or indirectly fuelling the poaching of elephants. By closing the UK ivory market to all items containing ivory, except those that meet narrow exemptions, we will remove the financial value from ivory, reduce the opportunity for new ivory to be laundered through legal markets, significantly reduce the flow of ivory from the UK to overseas markets, and encourage other countries to take similar actions. The Bill will not affect the ownership, inheriting, donating or bequeathing of ivory items where this is currently allowed.

The exemptions are as follows: de minimis—items with an ivory volume of less than 10% and which were made prior to 1947; musical instruments with an ivory content of less than 20% and which were made prior to 1975; picture portrait miniatures produced prior to 1918, with a maximum surface area of 320 square centimetres; and items which are the rarest and most important of their type. This covers pieces made of, or containing, ivory produced prior to 1918 that are assessed by an independent advisory institution as of outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value.

The fifth category of exemptions covers museums: specifically, commercial activities, including sales, loans and exchanges to, and between, government-accredited museums—that is, museums which meet the strict accreditation criteria of Arts Council England or equivalent bodies in the devolved Administrations. There is no intention for this ban to affect the display of historic, artistic and cultural items to members of the public by accredited museums.

The Government have created a compliance and enforcement regime which is both robust and proportionate. Owners will have to register their item before they can sell it. Ivory owners will need to confirm that the item falls within the scope of a particular exemption. They will need to confirm, for example, that the item has less than 10% ivory by volume and was made before 1947. This will mean that owners need to consider carefully whether the item is exempt before it can be sold. This will also make enforcement of the ban easier, as it will be an offence to sell an unregistered item. This will not be unduly bureaucratic or burdensome: we are developing a new IT system to facilitate the process. This register will ensure security for both the buyer and seller.

It will be an offence to breach the ban on commercial dealing in ivory items. This offence can be committed in three distinct ways: by breaching the ban directly; by causing the ban to be breached; or by facilitating a breach of the ban. It is a defence to show that one took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence. Any ban is only as strong as its enforcement. Breaches will be liable to either civil or criminal penalties, meaning that enforcement bodies will have the flexibility to apply the most appropriate penalty, depending on the severity of the offence. Criminal sanctions for failing to adhere to the ban will be entirely consistent with existing offences concerning ivory under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations. Those found guilty of a criminal offence under these measures may be liable to an unlimited fine and/or a maximum prison sentence of up to five years. Civil sanctions will consist of stop notices, monetary penalties, enforcement under- takings and enforcement cost recovery notices. The Office for Product Safety and Standards, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will be responsible for ensuring compliance, investigating breaches and issuing civil sanctions; the police will be responsible for criminal sanctions.

The Ivory Bill is a proportionate response to curtail the demand for ivory, in our continued fight to save the elephant from slaughter in the wild. Our country is showing leadership, in a co-ordinated international response to the crisis. In October, we will host the fourth IWT conference, once again convening international partners to urge further decisive action. The Ivory Bill has a critical role to play. The nations with most at stake have sought our help. The Bill will help protect elephants of the present and future. That is surely our generation’s responsibility. If we do not tackle this, we will lose the elephant in the wild. That would be an abdication of our duty to the natural world and I believe that future generations would rightly ask, “How on earth did you let this happen?” I beg to move.

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, this has been an exceptional debate and we have heard from noble Lords with direct knowledge of events in Africa where the elephant is being slaughtered in unsustainable numbers. I want in particular to pay tribute to my noble friends Lady Chalker of Wallasey and Lord Hague of Richmond, who have been so instrumental in doing a great deal for the interests of communities in Africa. I pay tribute also to the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, on his experiences. I do so because I believe strongly that if our generation does not act now, it will be too late. I should also say, given the many questions put to me and the many notes I have received, that your Lordships would be sitting for a very long time if I were to answer every single question. A comprehensive reply to all the comments that have been made will of course follow this debate. I have the answers to almost all the points but, in the time available, it will not be possible to do them justice.

I shall turn immediately to an issue raised by a number of noble Lords, which is that of heritage in terms of natural heritage, as outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Flather, in relating her experiences of the elephant, and indeed how we would rob some of the world’s poorest communities of their natural resources and deprive us and future generations of this extraordinarily inspirational creature. I am also most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, for expressing her support for government initiatives, a number of which were referred to by my noble friend Lady Fookes. Through the IWT Challenge Fund, we have been supporting projects around the world to engage local communities in conservation, to enhance human/wildlife coexistence, and to strengthen community involvement in helping to tackle crime. These are the communities that are being impoverished by this trade, and it is others around the world who are enriched by it. I was also struck by what my noble friend Lady Rawlings said about the British effort, and obviously I am really pleased that our gallant forces in the military have been helping in Gabon and Malawi to deal with poachers.

As I mentioned earlier—and as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, will know through his close association with the Giants Club—the summit held in Botswana in March this year reflected the unity among the political leaders of the four countries that hold half of Africa’s remaining elephants. At that summit, the Presidents of those four countries signed a petition that called on the EU and by extension its member states to shut down their domestic markets, end all ivory exports and support efforts to ban the global ivory trade. They join 28 other African nations as signatories to the petition. That is an extraordinary request from the continent of Africa where these wonderful creatures are, and we must respond.

A number of points were made about other species. I want to deal with those immediately by saying that it is absolutely the Government’s intention to launch a consultation seeking views and evidence for extending the definition of ivory on or as soon as practicable following Royal Assent to the Bill. There are reasons for that. We have already taken a power in the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to extend it to cover other ivory-bearing species through regulation, and the power taken extends from applying only to ivory-bearing species listed under CITES to any ivory-bearing species. Obviously the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, and I can exchange legal opinion, but in the end it will be the Secretary of State and this Minister who will have to sign the certificate, which as noble Lords know is part of our ministerial responsibilities. The legal advice we have is that we must consult, and we will do that as soon as possible. However, I am happy to have sight of any legal opinion referred to by the noble Baroness, but that is the legal advice we have received, and in the end it is for Ministers of the Government to sign the certificate as a matter of compliance, as one would expect.

A number of issues were raised about the ban and the country’s place in it. I was very struck by my noble friend Lord Hague’s reference to China, saying “Well, when are you going to do something about this?” Indeed, it is important to know that whatever noble Lords may say, ivory will not be a symbol of luxury anymore. We have sought a balance between absolutely curtailing and snuffing out demand, and having the exemptions that we have decided are proportionate. However, the balance in this legislation will always be that living creatures are the most important priority.

I am very glad that my noble friends Lady Rawlings and Lord Crathorne spoke about the exemptions and the rationale. I assure your Lordships, particularly my noble friends—and they are my noble friends—who have expressed the concerns of the antique trade, museums and musicians, that we have had considerable discussions with those sectors. If time permits, I will read out some of the quotes that we have had from the antique sector and musicians, who expressed some surprise that we have reached such exemptions and that the conservation NGOs think that they are proportionate. Indeed, they have expressed surprise; they thought that they were in a position where they can manage the situation.

I say to my noble friends that getting this right is our priority, but we have this Bill because of the slaughter of an animal that will be extinct in the wild unless we do something demonstrable. Neither I nor the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, is saying that there is a connection. As I said in my opening remarks, to which my noble friend Lord Hague of Richmond referred, a UN Office on Drugs and Crime report made it absolutely clear that,

“the trade in illicit ivory is only lucrative because there is a parallel licit supply”.

That is the challenge we must take on with the demand for ivory, particularly in east Asia. The figures that I have expressed to your Lordships show that the amount of ivory going from this country to Asia has been increasing, not decreasing. We need to deal with that. I want to make it very clear that we have sought a balance that we think is proportionate. I will be very pleased, both in writing and in further stages of the Bill, to explain our rationale.

We had 70,000 responses from individuals and even more from campaigning organisations. The strong message was that we should have a comprehensive ban. We thought that having these exemptions was proportionate because we were persuaded that they would not fuel the demand that we must snuff out. As we have said, it is clear that the restrictions go beyond the CITES requirements on restrictions for post-1990 ivory. We have also gone further than the EU precisely because our lead is being looked at by other countries. This is not about some sort of gesture; it is about leadership and saying that this trade must stop. We must do everything we can to stop it. I am clear that we have been, and will remain, resolute. I understand that the function of this House is to scrutinise and improve, but we have sought to do what we can to find the right balance in these matters.

A number of noble Lords made points about online issues. I want to make it absolutely clear that this legislation takes enforcement extremely seriously. We intend the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Office for Product Safety and Standards and the police to have access to registration systems, take spot-checks of registrations and carry out any necessary enforcement action. This will be clearly online as well. We want to ensure that the offence of facilitating a breach of the sales ban is specifically designed to capture online sales fora and, for instance, the use of traditional media, such as newspapers. Furthermore, Clause 34 ensures that we can charge a particular person within a corporation responsible for a breach so people cannot hide behind their company.

There was another point made by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, and my noble friend Lord Selkirk. I have seen the programmes that my noble friend’s kinsman, and his daughter Saba Douglas-Hamilton, have produced. We owe them a profound debt of gratitude for what they have done to highlight the nature of elephants and how we can better protect them.

We also need to take the opportunity to acknowledge the people who have died because of seeking to prohibit the poachers from doing their dreadful deeds. Let us remember that, when we are talking about these objects, we are talking about human beings and animals that have died because of this, and I think that is the perspective in which we should look at it.

Clearly, we do not want to make unnecessarily draconian pieces of legislation; that is why the defence of ignorance is there to be proportionate so that the standards used determine whether someone has acted reasonably, and it will clearly depend on the circumstances of the accused.

Also, we want to make it clear—I paraphrase because my notes are not quite in order—that the whole point about having civil and criminal sanctions is precisely because we realise this is a new piece of legislation, and we understand that there will be different elements of criminality in terms of the sorts of gangs, organised crime, and billions that are involved. Regarding the amount of the fine that my noble friend Lord De Mauley referred to and the five years that my noble friend Lord Crathorne talked about, this is not about the person who has, by some mistake and completely with ignorance, sought to put a piece on the market. This is precisely because we need to get at the organised gangs who, in the end, want to receive the ivory from wherever it may be. This is why we have sought in our package—and, yes, it is a package and it is a balance—to make sure that civil sanctions and criminal penalties are done properly through the police, where that is required.

I say to my noble friend Lord Inglewood and the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, that I am absolutely seized of the fact that we want the registration system to be as bureaucracy-free and straightforward as possible. That is why we were working on an IT system that will not be burdensome and that—as it is based on a cost-recovery basis—is intended to be small. We want to have this non-bureaucratic system. We will also run an awareness campaign to ensure that potential buyers and sellers understand what is required. Again, this is intended to give safety and security to the seller and the buyer. That is the whole purpose. We are absolutely clear that the purpose of this legislation is to stop the demand in ivory, with certain exemptions. That is why it will be rigorous, but the registration for the first three exemptions will be through means which we think are not bureaucratic or burdensome. I shall write to my noble friend Lord Crathorne on his queries. However, I should say now that there are distinct reasons for the particular dates that we chose. It is 2018 now, so we thought that 100 years ago—1918—was a suitable choice.

The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, referred to a guide to the Bill’s application. The Government will publish guidance on various aspects of the Bill to ensure it is implemented effectively. My noble friend Lord Selkirk asked whether enforcement will be adequate and exemptions not exploited. We will ensure that they are robust—they have to be, because that will underpin the success and effectiveness of the ban. I give credit to the police, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Border Force for what they have done to date in tackling this abhorrent crime. Our proposals will go further than the current regime. We will also nominate a regulator to enforce this ban, alongside the police and Border Force.

The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked about the rarest and most important items. We intend this to be applied on a narrow strata of items considered, on the advice of expert assessors, to be of outstandingly high artistic, cultural and historical value. I agree with my noble friend Lord Crathorne that this is subjective but that is why we are asking experts to do that exemption, which we think is valid and is the right way forward. We did not think that a total ban was the right thing for these objects. We reached that position because we thought that this was a sensible arrangement. We therefore will be looking to experts to help us.

There were a number of questions about music and musicians. Owners of instruments containing ivory will need to register their instruments only if they wish to sell them or to engage in other commercial activities, such as hiring them out. Musicians wishing to take their instruments overseas for concert tours will not require registration, but must adhere to existing CITES regulations. My officials have received a copy of the Musicians’ Union briefings and will be happy to respond in writing or to meet it. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, mentioned Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood. I have to declare an interest in that he played at my wedding, so I know the professor rather well. But regarding this exemption, Paul McManus of the Music Industries Association has said,

“we are extraordinarily grateful that this exemption has been considered at all”.—[Official Report, Commons, Ivory Bill Committee, 12/6/18; col. 49.]

We have gone as far as we can.

I am obviously very clear and conscious of what the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, said about the Northumbrian pipes. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch. I would obviously always be happy to see the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, but we have these exemptions and we have got as far as we have with them. I will obviously meet her but we have had to find some definitions for these exemptions.

Baroness Quin Portrait Baroness Quin
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I hope that the Minister will at least listen to representations from the pipers but, to reinforce the statement that I made, they bought their instruments not because of ivory but because they were good to play. In that sense, it is not the same as people buying objects because they think that ivory is valuable.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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Yes, I understand the noble Baroness’s point. I think that I have explained the position that we are in, but I will of course meet with her.

The noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, referred to museums. Accredited museums will be exempt from the ban. This will allow them to purchase, loan or exchange ivory items. I am also happy to meet him to discuss insurance.

A number of noble Lords mentioned funding, including the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. We wholly believe that the regulator and law enforcement agencies need sufficient funding to tackle wildlife crime. Defra will consider longer-term funding as part of the normal spending review process over the coming year. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked whether the agencies have sufficient powers under the Customs and Excise Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Bill does not change the scope or reach of the legislation conferring powers for the purpose of customs checks on international trade and divesting criminals of the proceeds of crime. These powers are available, where applicable, against unlawful dealings in ivory items.

My noble friend Lord Lingfield mentioned the process for rarest and most important items—RMI, as I will describe it. We are working with experts at a number of institutions and have no expectation that this process will take a long time. My noble friend Lord Carrington of Fulham expressed concern about high registration fees. We do not intend these to be on anything other than a cost-recovery basis. My noble friends Lord Crathorne and Lord Carrington referred to museum quality. Yes, I agree that it is subjective but we have been working to get the advice of the country’s foremost experts, so I hope my noble friend Lord Cormack and others will see that we are sincerely trying to ensure that all these items are within the exemption, as they should be.

My noble friends Lord Attlee and Lord Carrington asked about inheritance tax and my noble friend Lady Rawlings referred to other taxation. Once the ban comes into force, prohibited items will be subject to nil value for inheritance tax purposes. Items subject to exemptions will still have a market value and may therefore be subject to inheritance tax. Indeed, we are aware that there may be a loss to the Exchequer, but we believe that the objects of this legislation far outweigh that loss.

A number of points were made about enforcement powers. I would be very happy to meet my noble friend Lord Inglewood, because there are points that I would like to discuss with him. On more spending on conservation, I have already mentioned it in another regard, but my noble friend Lady Chalker and the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, raised this. We are doing more, but I will write on that.

I have sought to refer to all questions, but I will write more fully. My noble friend the Whip will not be pleased with me, but I am most grateful for all contributions. I will study Hansard very carefully and will write fully, but at this stage I ask noble Lords to give the Bill a Second Reading.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 10th September 2018

(5 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-II Second marshalled list for Committee (PDF) - (10 Sep 2018)
Lord Clement-Jones Portrait Lord Clement-Jones
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My Lords, I am sure the Minister will deal with that issue as far as this amendment is concerned, but to introduce further differentiation into the Bill is extremely unhelpful, particularly in the light of its intentions and the fact that the CITES convention will take place later next month. I do not think that that would be a particularly good symbol.

I am the proud owner of a set of fish knives—I do not believe that John Betjeman would have approved of them. I am firmly in the category that the noble Lord, Lord, Cormack, has identified as being caught by this provision. I am very relaxed about it. I do not believe one should be able to trade, deal or sell that kind of commodity. It is the sort of thing you pass on to your descendants. I very much hope this provision will remain part of the Bill.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, I join all noble Lords in saying that I very much look forward to the early return of my noble friend Lord Carrington of Fulham and, indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, for later stages.

My noble friend’s amendments intend to allow pre-1918 ivory objects to be bought, sold and hired within the United Kingdom, regardless of whether they meet one of the exemptions. Indeed, my noble friend—and this has been raised already—used words such as “confiscation” and “loss of ownership”. These measures precisely do not affect the right to own, gift, inherit or bequeath ivory. They are precisely not for that purpose.

As this is the beginning of Committee stage, I reiterate the overriding purpose of this Bill. Its intention—and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, also made this clear—is to introduce one of the strongest ivory bans in the world, with narrow and limited exemptions, to curtail the demand for ivory that currently threatens the elephant with extinction. As your Lordships know—a number of noble Lords have referred in different ways to the public consultation—there is overwhelming public support for this ban. I say to my noble friend in particular that we have worked extensively with conservation NGOs, the arts and antiques sector, and musician and museum sectors to help shape this Bill, and we believe it is a proportionate response.

The exemptions outlined in the Bill have been included to allow limited dealings in ivory to continue where they are unlikely to contribute to the poaching of elephants. To allow all pre-1918 ivory items to be bought, sold and hired, regardless of whether they meet one of the exemptions, would significantly undermine the aim of the Bill and the carefully balanced package of exemptions. My noble friend is, of course, conversant with Clause 2, which we will address in more detail later. We have specifically created an exemption so that pre-1918 ivory items that are of outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value, and which are the rarest and most important examples of their type, can continue to be traded.

I suggest to my noble friend that his other amendment concerns the offences of buying or hiring ivory as the owner within the UK only. Subsection (4)(b) concerns selling and hiring ivory as the lender both in and outside of the United Kingdom. My noble friend and my noble friend Lord De Mauley have raised a number of issues about the antiques sector. A 2016 report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, on the UK’s domestic ivory trade, showed that consumers of UK antique ivory are increasingly from Asia, particularly China, Japan and Hong Kong. This constitutes a change since the last UK ivory market report in 2004, which found that most buyers were from Europe and the United States. This worrying shift demonstrates that the UK antique ivory market is increasingly connected to the Far East, where the demand for ivory is highest, further fuelling the demand for ivory, and its social acceptability.

I also want to refer to a point in the discussion between the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and my noble friend Lord Cormack. As I mentioned at Second Reading, the 2010 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime concluded:

“The trade in illicit ivory is only lucrative because there is a parallel licit supply”.


This is precisely why we are having to introduce a ban, with only tightly drawn exemptions that are unlikely to continue to fuel the illegal trade and poaching of elephants. To allow all pre-1918 ivory items to be traded would further perpetuate the demand for ivory and undermine the effectiveness of the ban. I agree with what the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said: we have got to bear down on the situation in which 20,000 elephants a year are being slaughtered. We saw only last week reports from Botswana of this slaughter continuing, and the status quo at the moment is simply not acceptable. This country has to lead. We have a responsibility to lead. We are one of the world’s largest exporters of ivory and we must act. So, for the reasons I have given, I am not able to support my noble friend’s amendment and I respectfully ask him to withdraw it.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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I had hoped we might have a rather longer debate on this, but of course I listened very carefully to what my noble friend the Minister said and I obviously have no intention of dividing the House today. I believe very much in the unwritten convention in your Lordships’ House that it is better to have divisions on Report than in Committee. However, I shall certainly be framing amendments for Report because I have not been convinced by anything that my noble friend or the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, have said that we are assisting the elephants by forbidding the sale of genuinely antique ivory items. I just do not accept that, and although I accept that there have been consultations with the antique trade, with which I have no pecuniary connection and no interest to declare—I have bought the odd thing in an antique shop, although not ivory—I know that those who have been part of these negotiations have not been entirely convinced that their point of view has been really seriously taken on board.

I think that my noble friend must also realise that we are one country. Quite shortly, much to my regret, we will not be part of a European group of countries, and what will happen, as I have already quoted from the note from the chess collecting chairman, is that things will be sent abroad: they are going abroad quite quickly now. I think it is a pity that we are taking this real sledgehammer to this; nevertheless, there is no point in prolonging discussion now and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 10 in this group. I rather resent the implication that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and I do not understand the significance of beautiful works of art. That is clearly not the case. The debate that we are having is about—and we are repeating this time and again—how we can stop the illegal poaching of elephants to create, if you like, imitations of beautiful works of art.

We take a very different view from other noble Lords who have spoken to amendments in this group who have in some way wanted to water down the application of the Bill. We believe that the current definition of,

“outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value”,

is too subjective and too widely framed and therefore too difficult to apply with any certainty. We therefore believe that we should set the bar higher and make the definition clearer. These categories were all debated during the consultation and were framed by examining global best practice in this sector in terms of how you apply and enforce these definitions. They are designed to cover items that, when sold, do not directly or indirectly fuel the poaching of elephants, so we are back to that issue again.

We are concerned that the test has been toned down, given that there was an earlier form of wording. The earlier wording talked about the “rarest and most important” pieces, which appears to have been changed to a consideration of an item’s rarity and the extent to which it appears to be an important example of its type. Our concern is that that is difficult phraseology to apply with any certainty.

It is important that we get this wording right. If we do not, there may be other consequences that do not help what we are trying to achieve. We know that the sale of items that seem to be important and the best of their type is fuelling the market in Asia by making some items more desirable. Those who cannot afford the items classified as best of their type go out and try to find imitations, which is where we come back full circle to the reason for the Bill and the need to ensure that whatever we do does not carry on fuelling the demand for newly poached ivory. Despite what noble Lords have said, there is a link between antique and modern ivory and, therefore, a need to close that market. As I have said, the exemptions in the Bill have to be rigorously defined and enforced.

Although I shall not go to the wall on this, I would expect religious items to be covered by the current definitions. I am not convinced that we need a separate category; I would have thought that the cultural definitions covered that.

The noble Lord, Lord Cormack, said that he was worried about local and regional significance not being taken into account. Again, I think that the professionals assessing whether items meet the grade for an exemption certificate would be expected to take account of those local variations rather than just assuming that everything has a value only in the London markets.

Noble Lords are right that whatever we do in the UK is only part of tackling the problem. In many ways, we are only the middle people in an international trade that is passing through our country. That is why the Secretary of State is right in wanting to use the forthcoming international wildlife crimes conference as a means for the UK to put pressure on other countries. There is no point in us trying to do it in isolation; we have to make sure that other countries follow suit, as a number already have. This legislation is only part of the jigsaw, but we have to play our part in all this. To do that, we have to get rigorous, enforced definitions right. I am not sure that we have got them right at the moment and worry that there is too much room for subjectivity, but I am sure that the Minister will reassure me and others that the current definitions hold up.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, my noble friends’ amendments would widen the scope of Clause 2 to allow more items to fall under this category of exemption, while the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, strives to tighten it. As noble Lords will know from Second Reading, the Government came forward with the current set of exemptions in discussion with the antiques and museum sector.

The Bill’s intention is to prohibit commercial activities concerning ivory in the UK and the import and re-export of ivory for commercial purposes. My noble friend Lady Rawlings and other noble friends mentioned the UK’s market. Between 2005 and 2014, 31% of ivory exported from the EU for commercial purposes was from the UK; the number of worked ivory items exported to mainland China increased from 2,000 to 11,000 between 2010 and 2014, and the UK Border Force recorded 602 seizures of illegal ivory items moving into and out of the UK in the four years between 2013 and 2017.

This is the scenario in which we exist and why what we have had before is simply not good enough. I emphasise that we intend this to be one of the toughest bans in the world. We are clear as a Government that this is the right thing to do in terms of leadership. We also recognise—I feel that my noble friends in particular as owners of ivory see this differently from me—that the public interest of saving the elephant has the supremacy on these matters. However, we have sought as a responsible and reasonable Government to ensure exemptions that we think are proportionate. That is why the limited and targeted exemption from the prohibition on dealing for pre-1918 ivory items which are of outstanding,

“artistic, cultural, or historical value”,

have a rarity value and are important examples of their type is legitimate.

As has been said before, it is not the Government’s intention to affect our artistic and cultural heritage unduly. This exemption recognises that a certain stratum of ivory items are traded not because they are made of ivory, but due to their artistry or rarity. I assure both my noble friends and the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, that the Government have worked extensively with conservation NGOs and the arts and antiques sector to shape this exemption. We believe that the clause, as it stands, is a proportionate approach and any change would undermine this carefully balanced position. Indeed, the chairman of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers welcomed the distinction our proposals make,

“between the market for ivory as a substance … and the market for works of art whose significance lies in their status as works of art, not for what they are made of”.

The criteria which must be met for an item to qualify under this exemption are intentionally narrow and will be detailed in statutory guidance. My noble friends Lord De Mauley, Lord Cormack and Lord Inglewood referred to religious significance being a key factor for consideration when determining whether to issue an exemption certificate. We consider religious significance to be a factor of both cultural and historic significance—a point that the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, made—so we do not believe that it is necessary to reference it separately in the Bill.

On the rationale behind the 100 years backstop, this date has been chosen as it is in line with the commonly agreed definition of “antique” as being items that are 100 years old. It represents 100 years before the Bill was introduced. The amendment from my noble friend Lord De Mauley seeks to widen this exemption to items,

“suitable ... to the collection of a qualifying museum”.

We believe that this is too broad a definition to be included as part of what is intended to be a clearly defined exemption. It is worth noting that any accredited museum may purchase an item of ivory whether or not it meets one of the categories of exemption under Clause 9. This ensures that the decision to purchase rests with the relevant experts at accredited museums.

I repeat that the rationale behind this Bill is the need to curtail the demand for ivory that is driving the disastrous poaching of elephants in increasing numbers. I noted in my Second Reading speech and, indeed, today, that this demand is fuelled by both the illicit and the licit trade. This is what the African leaders are asking to do. It is what is coming out of the UN report. It is not a Minister just saying it. People in Africa and the UN are saying to us: “Please will you bear down on your licit trade because it is part of the problem”.

I am sorry to disappoint my noble friends, but I am sure they will understand that this is designed as a narrowly drawn exemption. I am not in a position to accept the amendments and I emphasise that a great deal of attention has been paid to what are tightly defined packages of exemptions, of which this is one. I believe that the Government have produced something that is proportionate and on those grounds I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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I will, of course, look into what my noble friend said and write a letter, which I will place in the Library.

Earl Attlee Portrait Earl Attlee
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My Lords, I apologise to the Committee for not giving my counsel on this group of amendments: I am conflicted out, but it has nothing to do with ivory.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard - continued): House of Lords
Monday 10th September 2018

(5 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-II Second marshalled list for Committee (PDF) - (10 Sep 2018)
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I understand what the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, is trying to achieve but, with the best will in the world, I am not sure that it is practical. If an item is important enough to be passed down through inheritance to another family member, it is also important that the new owner has an up-to-date registration certificate for it.

The Bill requires that if there is a change of owner a fresh application should be made to register the item. This is important because it will ensure that the registration system has an up-to-date record of the name of the owner and their contact details and so on. Without this change of ownership recorded on the register, we are concerned that confusion might arise as to who has the legal obligations of ownership spelled out elsewhere in the Bill. If an item appears on the market or if it is suspected of being a forgery, the enforcement officers will not know whom to contact to clarify the position.

I am trying to give the noble Lord something to be cheerful about but I do not think that this is the way to go about it. I do not think an automatic transfer of an item and the registration certificate would work without the associated paper trail to show the current ownership.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, the intention behind my noble friend’s amendment is to provide that a person who inherits a registered ivory item from a family member would not need to reregister it under Clause 10, regardless of whether he or she intends to deal in the item themselves. Clause 11(2) places duties on a registered owner to notify the Secretary of State when he or she becomes aware of any relevant information relating to the registered item becoming invalid or incomplete. A person inheriting a registration in an ivory item would therefore be subject to this duty at the point he or she became responsible for the registration. I think the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, outlined very compelling reasons. If a person inheriting or taking possession of an ivory item is unaware that the item is registered, the Government would expect that person to decide whether he or she wants to sell or hire the item and to register it accordingly.

The main point I want to reference is that we are working extremely hard with all concerned to ensure that the self-registration of ivory items will be straight-forward and as simple as possible for those expected to use the registration system. For the security of the next generation in ensuring the item is as it should be and is properly registered, I am very sorry to have to disappoint my noble friend. It is in the interest of the next generation that we have the provisions for the points that the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, outlined rather better than I have. On that basis, I respectfully ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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I am sorely tempted to divide the House. I say to my noble friend that all you need is a simple form that informs that the new owner is by inheritance the Marquess of This or Mr That. That is all that has to be done. You do not have to go through a whole paraphernalia of reregistering. That is what I am against. I hope we can come up with a formula, my noble friend and I, which will be acceptable on Report. With that hope, which is almost certainly a vain one, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 12th September 2018

(5 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-II Second marshalled list for Committee (PDF) - (10 Sep 2018)
Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley (Con)
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My Lords, I reiterate my declaration of interest as chairman of LAPADA, the art and antiques dealers’ trade association. We have worked closely with BADA, the other major trade association.

On the face of it, Clause 12(2) provides protection against prosecution for those people who are not aware that the item they are handling contains elements of ivory. That they may be prosecuted only if it can be shown that they knew or suspected, or ought to have known or suspected, that an item was made from ivory appears to me to be reasonable. I suppose that I could see that the interaction between this subsection and Clause 35(4) could cause confusion and potentially prove unjust. As I understand it, Clause 35(4) means there is the presumption that, if a material can be proved to be ivory of any animal, it can be assumed to be the ivory of an elephant unless proved otherwise. If one takes the case of someone who genuinely believes an item to be made from the ivory of another species and not from elephant ivory, I am not sure whether they would receive the protection of Clause 12 because it does not refer specifically to elephant ivory. I wonder whether the Minister can shed any light on this point.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, this amendment would mean that persons could not use a defence that they did not know or suspect, or ought to know or suspect, the item was ivory. I should therefore explain why this provision was included and how it would be applied.

This provision has been included to help tackle the problem of illegal ivory items being deliberately mislabelled as another substance, such as bovine bone. It is also to protect those who fall victim of mislabelling of ivory and who, and I underline this, genuinely did not know that the item they were buying contained ivory. The purpose of the Bill is not to penalise or criminalise unnecessarily people who have made a genuine mistake. This provision also allows the police, enforcement bodies and courts to use their professional discretion when considering the most appropriate approach to deploy for individual defendants.

The issue of labelling ivory as another substance when it is sold is a common one. Illegal ivory items are often deliberately mislabelled as another substance, such as bovine bone, in order to evade existing restrictions on ivory sales. For this reason, the Bill ensures it is an offence to deal in ivory where that person knew or suspected, or ought to have known or suspected, that it was ivory. In practice, this means that, where it is clear that a person is deliberately mislabelling ivory as some other substance in order to attempt to circumvent this ban, this will be an offence. Likewise, anyone buying items of mislabelled ivory who could reasonably be expected to know it is elephant ivory will also be liable.

The enforcement bodies and courts will consider the position of the person when taking a view as to whether they should have known or suspected the item was ivory; for instance, if the person is an antiques dealer or a member of the public. They may also, for example, take into account if it is a repeat offence or if the seller deliberately mislabelled the item and then provided other information to indicate more discreetly to potential buyers that the item was in fact ivory. For example, sellers have been known to include close-up photographs in order to show the tell-tale lines or crosshatching, which are characteristic of ivory.

I will need to reflect on what on my noble friend Lord De Mauley said, but the Bill at this moment relates to elephant ivory. We will come on to further amendments that relate to the ability of this legislation potentially to extend to other species. For the moment, the Bill is dealing with elephant ivory.

Clause 12(2) is phrased to capture some instances of genuine mislabelling, where there was no intention to breach the ban and where the person could not reasonably be expected to know the item was ivory. This element of the Bill is designed to protect such people, who may be buyers, sellers or those facilitating a sale or purchase and whose prosecution I think your Lordships would accept is not what we are seeking in this legislation. I hope for those reasons the noble Baroness is able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, I think that we want to achieve the same thing here. It is a question of whether the existing wording achieves what the Minister has outlined. We do not want to penalise or take to court any innocent person who is trapped in this way. That is not our intention and clearly it is not the Government’s intention. However, I do not know how you can prove that someone genuinely did not know that something had ivory in it. I have a feeling that we are trying to prove a negative here, which in terms of enforcement will be quite difficult.

Therefore, we are in the game of asking how you prove that somebody ought to know and how you prove that somebody could not possibly have known. It is quite unusual to have a get-out clause in a Bill that says, “If you didn’t know about it, we’ll let you off”. With most legislation—it might be banning smoking in cars—it is not normally a defence to say, “I didn’t know”. Equally, I find it odd that the Bill is introducing a situation where someone can say, “I didn’t know, so maybe I should be let off on this occasion”.

I think that we want to achieve the same thing; I just do not feel that the wording here delivers what the Minister is trying to get at, and I would like to reflect a little more on his response. I hope that, in return, he will listen to what I am saying because, as I said, I am not sure that this wording delivers his exact intent. Maybe there is another way through this but, for the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley
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My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendments 39 and 40. Starting with Amendment 39, Clause 14 grants National Crime Agency officers powers to stop and search someone when they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that an offence may have been committed. This could, for example, include an alleged offence connected to the registration of an antique with a low ivory content—not just an ivory carving. NCA officers are not police or customs officers and it is not entirely clear to me why they should be granted the same powers as police officers—unless, perhaps, they are qualified to assess whether an item is made from ivory and falls under the Act.

For instance, would they have sufficient understanding of the operation of the Act to be able to identify when the proportion of ivory in an object comprises more or less than the 10% threshold, or the 20% threshold in the case of a musical instrument? To carry out their duties properly, they should surely have some expertise in judging whether an item is of the correct date. The purpose of the amendment therefore is to ensure that NCA officers are properly trained for the job they are undertaking.

On Amendment 40, while there are misgivings about the extent of the role and powers of accredited civilian officers, one of their jobs is to raise awareness and understanding of the provisions in the Bill in order to facilitate and assess compliance. This being the case, there is nothing in the Bill to require sufficient knowledge of ivory on the part of an accredited civilian officer. It is important that they possess the skills and knowledge to equip them to make sound judgments, and to understand the information presented to them, when viewing antiques which may contain ivory. Unless this is the case, searches of dealers’ and auctioneers’ premises could result in inaccurate and misguided reports being submitted, alleging breaches of the provisions of the Bill. When appointing these officers, the Secretary of State should be under an obligation to ensure that the appointees have demonstrable knowledge of antique and modern elephant ivory in its various forms, and an ability to identify it. I beg to move.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, my noble friend’s first proposed amendment would require police or customs officers to undertake specific training in identifying ivory items before exercising the enforcement powers provided in the Bill. The CITES border force team is recognised as one of the best in the world at enforcing controls against illegal wildlife trade. Both the CITES border force team and the National Wildlife Crime Unit are experienced in identifying illegal wildlife products, including ivory, and already lend their expertise to police forces across the country. The skills of the CITES border force team in detecting illegal wildlife products are in demand internationally and the team regularly undertakes training with their counterparts around the world.

As needed, police forces also seek the opinion of experts, including APHA wildlife inspectors. Before the Bill comes into force, we intend to run an awareness- raising campaign around its provisions. We will work closely with the police to ensure that wildlife crime officers in police forces nationwide are apprised of these measures.

The second amendment in this group would require accredited civil officers to have,

“proven knowledge of and expertise in identifying ivory”.

In the next group of amendments I will spend a little time in my reply outlining the work of the Office for Product Safety and Standards. The accredited civilian officers from the Office for Product Safety and Standards —OPSS—which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will work alongside the police and customs officers to help enforce the ivory ban. While I will expand more fully, perhaps in the next group of amendments, on the important task of enforcement arrangements, the OPSS officers will be tasked primarily with raising awareness and ensuring that sellers are able to comply with the ban. They will also be responsible for checking that items for sale have the correct registration documents.

On the particular point about expertise in ivory, I can reassure my noble friend that an appropriate training programme for OPSS officers will be developed and implemented before the Act is commenced to ensure that they are equipped with the skills and expertise required to help enforce the ban. This will include, for instance, the ability to recognise the distinctive Schreger lines, the visible cross-hatching that identifies a substance as ivory. It is worth mentioning that, as needed—for example, with serious offences—officers would normally refer the items to expert witnesses. I understand the points that my noble friend made, but I hope that, with that explanation, he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, we very much welcome the interventions by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, members of the Constitution Committee and other noble Lords who have raised concerns about the status and powers of accredited civilian officers. The noble and learned Lord has done a fantastic demolition job on the provisions in the existing clause. I also welcome his overall support for the objectives of the Bill, which are indeed very welcome.

While we have argued throughout that there need to be robust enforcement mechanisms in the Bill, we equally accept that the creation of a new breed of civilian enforcers, with the widespread powers envisaged in the Bill, goes far too far. We would have hoped that providing extra resources for the National Wildlife Crime Unit would provide a more acceptable alternative to the challenge of effective enforcement.

I do not intend to say a great deal because I know that the Minister is keen to find a way to resolve these concerns. I hope that he is able to reassure us that the Government will be tabling their own amendments to bring enforcement back in line with the practice of legal enforcement using comparative situations. I therefore look forward to hearing his response.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I express my gratitude to the Constitution Committee for publishing its valuable report, which raised some important points regarding the powers conferred by the Bill on accredited civilian officers. I place on record that I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, for meeting me and officials so that we could discuss and, in turn, reflect on the concerns that he and the committee expressed. I am also mindful of the amendments tabled by my noble friend Lord Cormack.

The issue of enforcement is critical and I am sure that the Committee would agree that it is paramount that the enforcement of the ivory ban must be both proportionate and robust. As noble Lords will be aware, when I refer to accredited civilian officers, I am referring to the officers of the regulator, which will be the Office for Product Safety and Standards. OPSS is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is an experienced enforcement body that currently enforces a range of regulations on behalf of the Government, including regulations on timber, biodiversity, waste and chemicals, and carbon reduction. For example, OPSS ensures that timber traders are complying with the regulations to ensure that their products are made from legally sourced timber.

OPSS also has experience of co-working with the police, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and Border Force, which will also play a critical role in the enforcement of the ivory ban so that we make sure that the enforcement is effective and that all parties are clear on their role and remit. For all those reasons it was considered to be the most appropriate regulator.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness Portrait Lord Wallace of Tankerness
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I am interested to hear examples of the work set out in the letter to which I referred, but can the Minister tell us—this reflects the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Norton—about the underpinning statutory basis? Which Acts relate to, for example, EU timber regulation, which underpin any work done by the Office for Product Safety and Standards?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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I am waiting for some assistance to give some precise detail, but clearly, with the timber trade, there must be some legislative basis on which we ensure that timber is legally sourced. If I do not receive the full detail for the noble and learned Lord, I will of course write to him and place a copy of my letter to him in the Library.

Our intention is to ensure that the Ivory Act will be well understood and abided by and, to that end, to define clear roles for the accredited civilian officers, police officers and customs officers. For example, we expect accredited civilian officers to raise awareness and assess compliance with the ban. As such, they will play a critical but distinct role from the police. It is our intention that the accredited civilian officers will focus on low-level offences, while the police will be responsible for pursuing higher-level offences and all criminal offences. Clear protocols between the enforcement bodies will be in place ahead of the commencement and will underpin effective joint working to ensure the effectiveness of the Ivory Act.

The Constitution Committee’s report provided a number of extremely useful recommendations on how we could more clearly define the role of accredited officers in helping to enforce the ivory ban. I would like to assure all noble Lords that we are fully seized of the importance of this issue and are looking carefully at how we might consider these points further on Report.

The Constitution Committee’s recommendations also included a point about the Regulators’ Code. This is a statutory code of practice provided for by the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. It sets out the Government’s expectations of how regulators will behave and expands on the statutory principles of good regulation. For example, regulators subject to the code must ensure that activities are carried out in a way that is transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent, while regulatory activities should be targeted only in respect of cases where action is needed.

In practice, either a regulator or the piece of legislation that is being regulated can be listed under this Act via secondary legislation under Section 24(2) and therefore be subject to the code. A number of existing pieces of legislation that OPSS regulates—I am waiting on the detail for the noble and learned Lord—are subject to the Regulators’ Code and therefore OPSS adheres to the code in these cases. We are considering further the recommendation raised by the Constitution Committee with regard to the Regulators’ Code.

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Earl Attlee Portrait Earl Attlee (Con)
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My Lords, can my noble friend answer one little question? Will the Ministers be accountable to Parliament for the actions of the accredited civilian officers, perhaps in a way we find police officers are not?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

If it would be helpful, as part of BEIS, OPSS does not have a legal identity of its own, as it falls under the Secretary of State for BEIS. Perhaps that is the reason why it is not named in the Bill in its own right. I will reflect on what my noble friend said, but that is the position on the matter.

Lord Inglewood Portrait Lord Inglewood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Having heard the Minister’s remarks, it struck me that when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, concluded, he said “This just will not do”, and he is right—it will not do. But having then heard what the Minister told us, I was unclear as to whether he will, in the period between now and Report, directly address the issues raised by the noble and learned Lord. His response struck me as being that of somebody interested in administration in reply to the noble and learned Lord, who was putting some specific constitutional questions to him.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

I am grateful to my noble friend for permitting me to re-emphasise that the Government will consider not only what has happened during this debate but also the recommendations of the Constitution Committee. I cannot be fairer than that at this stage, as my noble friend should know.

Lord Judge Portrait Lord Judge
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am always willing to talk to the Minister, but the courteous way in which both Ministers have treated me during our discussions would make it extraordinary if I did not come straightaway when they were ready. However, the issue that has to be addressed is a simple one, which, unless something is done about it, will eventually lead me to invite the House at a later stage to consider its view. We cannot have a ministerial task force with these powers. That is what is not acceptable. Beyond putting that marker down for myself, I am willing to talk at any time, but for the purposes of today, I withdraw my opposition to Clause 17 standing part of the Bill.

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Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Portrait Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville
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My Lords, I support the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, in this amendment. At Second Reading, the Minister gave an undertaking that there would be consultation on the animals listed in the amendment after the Bill had received Royal Assent. It is a great pity that we were not able to include hippopotami, narwhals and walruses within this Bill once it had started its passage, but I understand the reasons for it. I welcome the fact that an undertaking has already been given and hope that, as soon as Royal Assent has been given, consultation will be ready to begin.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, seeks to insert into the Bill a commitment that the Secretary of State would consult on extending the scope of the ban to include ivory from hippopotamus, walrus and narwhal as soon as practicable after Royal Assent. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester and to the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, for their remarks.

As noble Lords will be aware, this matter was discussed at some length in the other place. I want to reassure the noble Lord and the noble Baroness of the Government’s intention on this point and to explain how the existing provision in the Bill may be applied. The Bill will prohibit the commercial dealing in living species of elephant—namely African and Asian elephants. Clause 35 provides a delegated power to allow the Secretary of State to extend the Bill to cover other ivory-bearing species through a regulation. We recognise concerns that, by banning the trade in elephant ivory, there may be an unintended consequence of trade displacement on to other ivory-bearing species, such as hippopotamus, putting these species at greater risk, as the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester has outlined. It may be appropriate to use this power to protect these species if the evidence gathered supports such actions.

The Government have committed in the other place and in a public announcement that the Secretary of State will conduct an evidence-gathering exercise—for example, a public consultation—on or as soon as practicable after Royal Assent. It is in the Government’s interest to launch this exercise within this period. However, we will ensure this does not impact our timetable to get the elephant ivory ban in place. The representatives from the conservation NGOs which gave evidence during Committee in the House of Commons emphasised that, at this time, the Government’s priority should be the ban on elephant ivory.

Lord Deben Portrait Lord Deben (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

If I may ask a genuine question, how easy is it for all these officers that we have been talking about to distinguish the ivory from which an artefact came? Is it difficult, or is it always simple?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

I shall have to take myself on a course of expertise. If through use of this power it was deemed, because of the consultation and the evidence that we had, that other ivory-bearing species should be encompassed in some form of legislation—which would clearly come before your Lordships for affirmative resolution—there would definitely need to be some understanding on the part of the enforcement officers as to differentiation and whether certain other species should be added. However, I must not take myself down a route of conjecture, although it is very a very valuable and important point. Perhaps after the enactment I should undertake myself some better understanding of the definition.

We should not act unless we have informed evidence—I think this is a point my noble friend Lord Deben would very much approve—so we can make a proper decision on whether the scope of the Bill should be extended to another species. As noble Lords will be aware, as a result of the government amendment in the other place, this delegated power has been extended from applying only to ivory-bearing species listed under CITES to applying to any ivory-bearing species. The CITES-listed species are currently narwhal, killer whale, sperm whale, walrus, and hippopotamus. The amendment brought all ivory-bearing species—for instance, the warthog—into the scope of the delegated power. All those species are therefore in scope of the delegated power and may, therefore, be subject to an evidence-gathering exercise.

As I have said, we have committed to carrying out an evidence-gathering exercise on or as soon as practicable after Royal Assent. To clarify an important point, and reassure the noble Lord, the delegated power also enables the Secretary of State to take action in the future. That is very important because of what your Lordships have already said about the possible unintended consequence of other species becoming poached because of the elephant ivory ban. For instance, a subsequent evidence-gathering exercise could be carried out on the scope of the ban if necessary. This is an important element of us ensuring that, on all ivory-bearing species, we will have the ability to act through this legislation, although this legislation before us today is precisely about the African and the Asian elephant.

I hope that, with the explanation I have given, the noble Lord feels reassured that the Government are committed to carrying out an evidence-gathering exercise on or as soon as practicable after Royal Assent, and that this will consider extending the scope of the ban to other ivory-bearing species. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Grantchester Portrait Lord Grantchester
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I thank the Minister for that reply and recognise that the legislation contains the visions that he suggested, although it could perhaps be more emphatically stated. I appreciate his repeated commitment that the Government will follow up on the extension of the ivory ban to other animals through the consultation. With that in mind, I beg leave to withdraw this amendment.

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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, this amendment would insert a preamble linking the Bill to the resolution adopted unanimously by Governments at the 2016 Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. This called on all Governments to close domestic ivory markets which contribute to the poaching of, or illegal trade in, ivory.

Unfortunately, the government amendment introduced on Report in another place had the accidental consequence of removing the only explicit link between this Bill and CITES. There is now nothing in the Bill to make it clear that this legislation was drafted partly in response to the resolution adopted unanimously at the 2016 Conference of the Parties to CITES.

An amendment of this type was specifically requested by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and the Born Free Foundation, which shared our concern that the link to the conference commitment had been deleted. We believe that such a preamble would strengthen the Act against possible judicial and equalities challenges by confirming that the legislation enables the UK to comply with international obligations to control domestic ivory markets under a UN-backed treaty. There are already precedents for this, notably in the original legislation to implement CITES in the UK—the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976—so this amendment would protect the Government’s resolve to comply with international treaties and strengthen their legal defence. I hope that noble Lords and the Minister will see the sense of the amendment and feel able to support it. I beg to move.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, the noble Baroness’s amendment would insert a preamble at the beginning of the Bill to draw a link between the provisions in the Bill and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The United Kingdom is a party to CITES in its own right and will continue to be bound by and committed to its obligations under this important convention. Indeed, the UK is a very active participant in CITES. At the last CITES Conference of the Parties in 2016, the UK played a major role in achieving strong outcomes for endangered species, which will help ensure their survival in the wild. The UK ivory ban is consistent with both CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. Under the withdrawal Act, these regulations will become part of UK domestic law. The UK ivory ban goes further than CITES and the EU in restricting commercial dealing in ivory.

Clause 35, which deals with the definition of ivory, previously referred to CITES for a specific reason—in order to limit the future application of the Bill to CITES-listed ivory-bearing species. As I alluded to in the previous group, the amendment made in the other place made it possible to broaden the scope of the Bill in the future to all ivory-bearing species, thus removing the need for a reference to CITES. No other provision in the Bill could be limited by a reference to CITES.

The Ivory Bill will apply alongside our existing obligations under CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, and therefore there is no need to reference CITES or indeed the regulations in the Bill. As is customary, the Long Title of the Bill outlines the matters covered by it. As I said, we are acknowledged as one of the strongest participants in CITES but, given the amendment introduced in the other place, we do not think that CITES requires to be cited in this Bill. For the reasons I have set out, I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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I thank the Minister for that explanation. The purpose of the amendment was to strengthen our hand in the Bill so as to avoid legal challenges that might otherwise have been made. In seeking to insert this preamble, I do not think that it was ever our intention to restrict what the Bill could achieve in terms of broadening out beyond CITES-specified endangered species. Nevertheless, I hear what the Minister says. I will again reflect on his views and his response, and I will take some soundings from those who have encouraged us to put forward this amendment. However, for the time being, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 24th October 2018

(5 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-R-I Marshalled list for Report (PDF) - (22 Oct 2018)
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
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My Lords, noble Lords will not be surprised by this, but we are very much opposed to this amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Hague, put the case much more strongly than I will, but I was disappointed by the position of the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, on this. The very fact that his amendment focuses on exports goes to the heart of what the Bill is about. I am sorry that he has sought to start this debate in such a negative way. I hoped that we would have learned from our debates in Committee and that we had made the case in Committee, as the noble Lord, Lord Hague, said, that we are trying to stop the illegal exports of illegal pieces. That is the heart of the problem.

The latest CITES statistics show that there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of both raw and worked ivory being exported from the EU: in 2014-15, the last two years for which data are available, the EU exported 1,258 tusks. That is what has happened according to the CITES information. Over and above that, as the noble Lord, Lord Hague, said, there is the undercurrent of all the illegal trade of which nobody has any record. That is at the heart of this, and I am very sorry that we have started this debate looking at exports, which is the real problem that we have. I know we will go on to talk about other issues, but I regret this and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, in other contributions that he might make, will do more to persuade us that he really understands the basis of the Bill. He said that he welcomed the Bill, but I think he has more of a responsibility to demonstrate how. I therefore urge noble Lords to oppose the amendment.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, my noble friend’s amendment would allow commercial exports of ivory to be exempt from the ban. Given the rationale of the Bill, this amendment would be contrary to its purpose. We have heard from all sides, and we are all united behind the need to tackle the devastating decline in elephant populations, which is being driven by the global demand for ivory. While key demand markets are primarily in the Far East, the UK has, by introducing the Ivory Bill, acknowledged that its own legal ivory market is one of the largest in the world. By closing this market we want to ensure that the UK no longer plays a role in driving the global demand for ivory, including in the Far East.

Currently, the UK ivory market is linked to the Far East. As I mentioned in Committee, a 2016 report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, shows that a shift has taken place over a number of years, with the UK legal market increasingly serving consumers in the Far East. UK Border Force officials have uncovered numerous antique ivory items being sent to Asian markets, often mislabelled as items other than ivory. Market surveys in the Far East have also shown that demand for ivory rarely distinguishes between legal and illegal ivory, with both found to be sold side by side. It cannot be denied that antique ivory from the UK is being exported to those markets, where it fuels the social acceptability of ivory and, in turn, perpetuates the demand.

I thank my noble friend Lord Hague for setting it out so clearly—indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, has said it much better than I possibly could—and I agree with every word he said. If we were to exclude exports from the UK’s ban, as proposed by this amendment, we would not only be allowing this link to continue but would also be condoning, internationally, the export of ivory items to demand markets. This would set back the actions already taken by other countries such as the United States and China by allowing new markets to grow in the Far East. It would also undermine the global movement to close markets and remove the value associated with ivory, which African elephant range states are calling upon us to do.

My noble friend Lord Hague referred to—as I will describe it—this global movement. The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference was held earlier this month in London, where the UK Government launched the international Ivory Alliance, which will work to close domestic markets and reduce demand for ivory. It was a privilege to introduce a session at the conference—jointly chaired by my noble friend Lord Hague and Dr Zhou Zhihua of China, with a panel including the Assistant Deputy Secretary from the US Department of the Interior and the former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark—which focused on the importance of closing domestic ivory markets.

The action the UK has taken by introducing this Bill is already helping to encourage other countries to take action. As my noble friend Lord Hague has said, both the Cambodian and Laotian Governments announced at the conference that they will be closing their domestic markets. This is an important step forward. Our work in the UK has also resulted in an Australian parliamentary committee recommending that Australia close its domestic market. The committee urged the Australian Government to follow the UK’s approach, which they described as an example of best practice.

Our actions are already having an impact and will continue to, if we make the right decisions. The current restrictions in place are not strong enough and there is an international movement, endorsed by a CITES resolution, to address the gap and in turn protect elephants. The UK must play its part, and it is for these reasons that the Government cannot support my noble friend’s amendment. As is customary at this stage, I therefore respectfully ask him to withdraw it.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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If this amendment is not passed, what would happen to objects that are confiscated at the border? I am thinking in particular of significant cultural objects that were destroyed in America, because all ivory is disallowed from entering the United States.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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I say to the noble Earl, as my noble friend Lord Carrington mentioned, that there is no intention to destroy any objects. Indeed, there are further amendments on exemptions that we think strike the right balance regarding outstanding and the rarest items. We have a strong and proportionate package of exemptions, which will come up in the next group of amendments.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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My Lords, the Minister’s response to that intervention from the noble Earl illustrates the lack of knowledge among those who are indulging in the gesture politics occupying us this afternoon. The fact of the matter is that, as the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, referred to, already the United States is destroying items that have ivory as an ingredient. We will come to that later in today’s debate, but take as an example an Art Deco figure with an ivory head and a silver body. The ivory head would be taken out. There is a particularly graphic example of a Victorian salt and pepper pair, dating from, I think, 1874. They were beefeaters, and the faces were ivory. They were destroyed. This is the stuff of madness.

My noble friend Lord Hague speaks with passion, and I hope I rival his passion in wanting to preserve elephants, but he does not seem to understand the difference between antique objects and artefacts and modern things. He talked about fakes, but there are fakes in every walk of life and in every form of antique—we know that. But we would not clamp down on the sale of pictures because occasionally a fake appears on the market. We have to be moderate and sensible in our approach.

I will reflect on what has been said and I may well bring something back on Third Reading. I shall certainly test the opinion of the House on a later amendment this afternoon, but—

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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With respect, on this matter and with this amendment, I have no option but to tell my noble friend that I will say exactly the same at Third Reading. He says he intends to bring it back at Third Reading, but it is really a matter that we should deal with today, on Report. That is the way to deal with it. We have considered it in ministerial meetings and it goes to the very heart of the Bill. To take “exporting” out rides a coach and horses through the Bill’s premise, and I respectfully tell my noble friend that, at Third Reading, I will say exactly the same. If he does wish to test the opinion of the House, it should be at Report.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, obviously I will reflect on what my noble friend has said. I wish to test the opinion of the House on a later amendment but, for the moment, I will withdraw this one.

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Lord Grantchester Portrait Lord Grantchester (Lab)
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My Lords, my noble friend Lady Quin has spoken eloquently on the effect of the Bill on future generations of Northumbrian pipers. Like her, we cherish musical tradition and would not wish the music played by pipers and enjoyed to cease. I pay tribute to the department for organising a visit by a member of its team to assess the instrument and thank her for meeting the society. However, as has been reported back to the department, some of the pipes have problems under the Bill. It is my hope that the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society itself can take on a role in seeing that instruments are recycled to new pipers through bequests and other measures, and that new instruments avoid the provisions of the Bill. It would be difficult to create a new exemption for Northumbrian pipes. As the House will later see, we have tabled Amendment 78 to report on the effects of the Bill on musical instruments more generally. Evidence provided through the consultation, including from the Musicians’ Union, showed that the vast majority of commonly played and traded instruments, including violins, pianos and bagpipes, comprise less than 20% ivory.

Turning to Amendment 2 and others in this group, we do not support what they wish to achieve, which amounts to a reduction in the provisions and effectiveness of the Bill, which is a commitment of both parties to introduce a ban on the sale of ivory. The Bill includes limited exemptions to the ivory trade that are sufficiently narrow to ensure that they will not contribute to the poaching of elephants. The carefully crafted clauses represent the culmination of a productive collaboration between NGOs, law enforcement, museums, art dealers and musicians. It is Labour’s view that the Bill strikes the right balance. I call on all the proposers of amendments in this group to withdraw or not to move their amendments so that future generations can enjoy living in a world with elephants.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, held earlier this month in London, underlined the importance of the UK putting in place a near-total ban on UK ivory sales as soon as possible. This legislation builds on the resolution agreed at the 2016 Conference of the Parties to CITES to phase out domestic ivory markets and will give the UK greater credibility in continuing to press other key countries in south-east Asia with a history of ivory trade to commit to closing their markets and to implementing strong domestic ivory bans. China closed its ivory market in 2017. Ivory poaching is now the fourth-largest crime sector after arms, drugs and trafficking. I remind your Lordships’ House that 20,000 elephants are killed each year, or some 55 a day.

I turn to Amendment 24 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Inglewood, which seeks to remove registration as a precondition of allowed sales of de minimis objects. The noble Lord raised concerns about proportionality and others have followed with remarks on both the registration fee and administration involved, which would necessitate photographing, measuring and examining the object for any distinguishing features before uploading the information to a database. I am sure the noble Lord would accept that photographing, measuring and examining the object for any distinguishing features would be part of any normal process of listing an item for sale at an auction house or on an online marketplace. It is our view that registration is necessary for enforcement. The proposed system places a small administrative responsibility and a small financial cost on the seller, who, in turn, will gain from the exemption to the ban on dealing in ivory. Crucially, by registering an item through the system, the applicant will be confirming that, to the best of their knowledge, all the information provided is correct and the item therefore meets the exemption. The APHA, the regulator and the police will have access to the registration system to enable them to carry out any enforcement and monitoring action necessary. The APHA will also carry out spot checks on items registered to check for accuracy and compliance. This is also a key and necessary part of the regulations.

Amendment 22 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, would remove the size criterion for portrait miniature exemptions. The noble Lord will recall from our previous consideration of this issue that the Government added the category of portrait miniatures to the list of exemptions in Committee in the other place. Emma Rutherford, a representative of Philip Mould & Co, an expert on portrait miniatures, gave evidence on how the exemption for portrait miniatures could be refined to add a size limit, and agreed that the suggestion of six inches by eight inches would be sensible. This is 320 square centimetres, which would allow between 90% and 95% to be exempt. The Government have moved considerably on many of these features and I therefore call on the House to reject these amendments.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, these amendments relate to the scope of the ban and, in particular, some of the exemptions to it. I emphasise how uncomfortable I am in having to address this to a number of my noble friends, but I do so with great sincerity. The department has undertaken extensive consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including the music sector, the antiques sectors and all the sectors engaged, as well as NGOs interested in conservation, to shape the Bill and, in particular, to establish a narrow and carefully defined set of exemptions.

I was struck by what my noble friend Lord Hailsham said—he used the word “proportionate”. The architecture of this proportionate approach has been carefully designed to balance the need to close our domestic markets with consideration of the interests of those who currently own certain items of ivory and the obligation to protect our cultural heritage. I think that my noble friend Lord De Mauley was in his position at Defra when my party had a manifesto pledge, in 2015, for a total ban. We have considered with the consultation that there are proportionate ways of approaching what is an imperative: to do everything that we can to stop the incidental and direct pressure on the elephants on this planet. That is why I will cut to the chase and say that the Government cannot support the amendments in this group. But I would like this opportunity, as is only reasonable, to set out why in more detail.

Amendment 2, tabled by my noble friend Lord Cormack, serves to alter the definition of ivory in Clause 1 of the Bill. This amendment would mean that any item with less than 20% ivory or any musical instrument with less than 30% ivory would be excluded from the ban, meaning that it would remain legal to deal in such items. Indeed, they would be within the scope of the rest of the Bill. The amendment does not state whether this threshold refers to volume, weight or another measurement. There is no backstop date referred to. This amendment would mean that items of any age with less than 20% ivory or any musical instrument with less than 30% ivory would not be affected by the ban and would only be subject to existing CITES regulations. This amendment would greatly undermine the scope and purpose of the Bill.

My noble friend Lord Cormack’s Amendment 22 refers to the exemption for pre-1918 portrait miniatures. The amendment would remove the size qualification, excluding the frame, from the exemption. We had this discussion in Committee, and my noble friend the Duke of Wellington referred to his own personal and rather considerably sized portrait miniature, which he rightly said he had no intention of dealing or selling. As the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said, this size qualification was developed from evidence provided during a House of Commons evidence session by a portrait miniatures expert. This evidence suggests that the size qualification, as we have heard, would include in the exemption 90% to 95% of pre-1918 portrait miniatures, which is the majority. Any item that falls outside this size qualification may also be exempt as an item of outstanding artistic, cultural or historical value and importance if it meets the criteria, which will be set out in regulations. The Bill makes clear that a frame would not be included in the calculation of the surface area of a portrait miniature. As I said, we will be developing detailed guidance on how to measure surface area, in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

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Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley
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I am very grateful to my noble friend. Can he give us an indication of what the level will be?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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No, my Lords, I am not able to give an exact sum.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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An approximation.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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No, I am not going to give an approximation. I used the words “a small fee”, and it will be considered in what would be the normal manner in which fees are considered. I have put on record that it will be a small fee. It is not intended to be burdensome or bureaucratic. I emphasise—given that we wish to reduce demand for ivory, as it is no longer a desired object around the world because of the continuing slaughter of elephants—that we need to do everything we can. That is why we want to protect sellers and buyers in those exempt areas which we have agreed in the Bill and to give them an assurance, given the fact that around the world we are seeing the closure of domestic markets of ivory, that this protects future sellers and buyers of the items within our exemption package.

I believe, and the Government believe, that the online self-registration system will have a range of benefits. It will provide assurance to those dealing in ivory through an exemption that they are complying with the law. It will also be an essential tool in identifying breaches of the ban. Enforcement officers will be able to use material submitted to the online system to monitor compliance and to support investigation into potential offences.

Of course, every individual has the right to own and enjoy items made of or with ivory and to bequeath and inherit those items without the need for registration. Indeed, many of these items will have sentimental value. It is only in the case of selling, hiring or using an item for commercial gain that registration will be required, which we believe is a proportionate response. We must ensure that robust measures are in place to enforce the Bill. Therefore, it is critical that all exempt items are subject to registration to support the rationale of the Bill but also, as I said, to support the interests of the sellers and buyers of exempt ivory.

Amendment 25, tabled by my noble friend Lord Carrington, seeks to clarify, with reference to the de minimis exemption, what is to be considered integral to the piece. Ivory must be,

“integral to the item’s design or function and contemporaneous with the item”.

I preface my remarks by saying that I am very pleased to see my noble friend returned to his place following his time in hospital. We have given this issue very careful consideration, and I hope that my forthcoming explanation will provide him with reassurance as to the intent of this exemption.

My noble friend correctly identifies that the ivory content of an item meeting this exemption must be incorporated into the piece at the time of its manufacture and to constitute an irremovable aspect of the item’s form and function. The ivory cannot, of course, have been added at a later date or be superfluous to the design and/or function of the item. As drafted, the Bill takes account of these concerns. Clause 7 provides that the ivory must be integral to the item, and may not be removed without difficulty or without damaging the item. Most obviously, that would apply in the case of inlaid furniture. But it would also apply where the ivory element were part of a detachable part of the item that is itself integral to the piece. If I may explain further, I would point to a teapot or serving dish with an ivory handle to the lid. The lid is clearly integral and contemporaneous to the teapot or serving dish, and the ivory handle is integral to the lid. Therefore, providing that the total volume of ivory in the item is less than 10%, it would meet the de minimis criteria.

There are other types of items, such as barometers and maybe small sewing boxes, for which the ivory content may be an entirely separate element, such as a knob on a barometer or the lid of a sewing box. These elements were clearly designed to be removable yet are integral to their design and purpose. For instance, without the knob—my noble friend Lord De Mauley raised this in Committee and my noble friend Lord Carrington raised it today—one may not set the mercury level on a barometer, and without the lid, assuming that it is less than 10% of the volume of the whole piece, the item could not function as a box. We will set out in guidance not only what I have described as examples but more fully the points that my noble friends have raised.

Amendment 28, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, would add a new clause after Clause 8 to exempt any,

“musical instrument that has been certified by the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society, or a similar approved organisation, as being a set of, or part of a set of, Northumbrian pipes made before the passing of this Act, and covered by a valid … (CITES) certificate”.

In Committee, I gave an undertaking that my officials would meet the representatives of the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society, and a very informative meeting was held.

As the noble Baroness knows, I am sympathetic to the Northumbrian piping community and the traditions. However, her amendment would constitute a widening of this exemption. Interestingly, my official identified that most pipes contain less than 20% ivory by volume, which was the initial concern in Committee. It then became more apparent during the detailed consideration —for which I am most grateful to the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society—that some Northumbrian pipes were made after 1975 with ivory repurposed from other items, and therefore will not be covered by the musical instruments exemption. The noble Baroness’s amendment would, however, allow Northumbrian pipes made with ivory right up until this year to be exempt from the sales ban. We believe that that would create an unjustifiably broad exemption for one instrument over all others. I should emphasise that those instruments not covered by the exemption will still be able to be played and enjoyed, and that the ban will not affect the ability to pass on or donate those instruments for future generations.

I apologise to noble Lords for taking some time, but I want to emphasise that the Government have embarked on considerable consultation in bringing forward the exemptions package. We remain of the view that they are reasonable. Phrases such as “gesture politics” do not chime with me. I attended the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, as I said on an earlier group of amendments. The word that came from that group, which represented over 80 countries, was “leadership”. It was about the leadership that this country is taking. That point was endorsed by five heads of African states. I hope that my noble friend Lord Carrington will forgive me, but my impression from meeting people at that conference was that they were not cynical.

None Portrait Noble Lords
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Oh!

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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They were not cynical. They were men and women from countries that are the most dramatically affected by the slaughter of elephants. These are the vulnerable villages and communities of Africa that are losing one of the most important economic engines for their prosperity. If any of those people had heard some of the comments this afternoon about gesture politics and cynicism, they might have despaired of this country. That is not the purpose of this legislation. Its purpose is to ensure that this country does everything possible—everything—to play our part in saving one of the planet’s most important and iconic animals. I have to say—and I will close with this—that in the end, whatever points my noble friends have made this afternoon, the interests and importance of these animals must always come before those of privately owned objects.

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Moved by
7: Clause 2, page 2, line 18, leave out “guidance issued” and insert “regulations made”
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 2(3)(c) currently allows the Secretary of State to use guidance to specify matters that must be taken into account when considering whether an ivory item is of outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value. This amendment requires these matters to be specified in regulations instead.
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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The amendments in this group arise from the recommendations made by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its report on the Bill. I thank the committee for its report, which has been extremely helpful in developing further how key parts of the Bill are to be implemented. The committee made a number of recommendations suggesting that negative resolution regulations, instead of guidance, should be used to set out certain matters.

First, Clause 2(3)(c), which allows for “other matters” that may be taken into account when deciding whether a pre-1918 item is of outstanding artistic, cultural or historical value, will be amended to be set out in regulations. “Other matters”, in this context, are in addition to consideration of the rarity of an item and the extent to which it is an important example of its type. Such matters might include an item’s religious significance, scientific importance or whether it has previously been on public display.

The Government agree with the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee that in this case, guidance would not be an appropriate method of detailing the other matters that prescribed institutions—museums with expertise in ivory items—should take into account when providing advice on whether items are of outstanding artistic value and importance. As the committee notes, setting out regulatory requirements in guidance can mean that a person can have an element of choice about whether to follow them. This is not the Government’s intention and we therefore accept the committee’s recommendation.

Amendments 7 and 11 also replace powers to set out in guidance additional information that those applying for an exemption certificate under Clause 2 and those registering items as exempt under Clause 10 must include in their applications. This is in addition to that set out in the Bill under Clause 3(1) and Clause 10(1). Work on the implementation of the Bill has revealed that it already lists all the information we will need to issue exemption certificates and handle registration applications. We therefore accept the committee’s recommendations with respect to Clauses 3 and 10 by requiring additional information requirements to be set out in regulations rather than guidance, should a future Government need to do this. While important details will be set out in regulations, the Government will still produce guidance that will help applicants navigate their way around the application processes for both the exemption certificate and registration regimes.

Amendments 14 and 38 remove Clause 4(8) and Clause 11(5) from the Bill. These provisions allow guidance to be used to set out how applications for exemption certificates and registrations must be made. Guidance may, for example, require applications to be made electronically or online. The Government have decided to allow maximum flexibility with regard to how applications may be made and will therefore be removing these powers from the Bill because they will no longer be necessary.

Applicants for exemption certificates and those registering items as exempt will be able to apply online or download forms to be completed in hard copy for postal submission. They will also be able to telephone or email requests for copies of forms to be sent to them by post. This is to reflect the diversity of persons who may wish to submit applications, which may range from private individuals without internet access to large auction businesses.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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Will they be able to apply by post? Do they have to download it or get it by email? My noble friend said they can send things in by post. Many of these people will be very elderly and will not necessarily be familiar with modern devices.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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I will make sure that I get a precise note. The whole purpose of us saying that people can apply online and offline is precisely to cover the diversity of private individuals, as I mentioned. I will just check for my noble friend whether a form can be sent or whether it has to be downloaded.

The answer, apparently, is that there will be a range of opportunities for people to receive forms—online or not. I am told that a hard copy application can be requested by telephone. I think that covers, in one way or another, most people in this country.

The committee also recommended that Clause 5 should include more details about the appeals regime, rather than leaving it to secondary legislation. Amendments 17 to 21 deliver the committee’s recommendation. First, the amendments set out in the Bill that the First-tier Tribunal will hear any appeals against a decision by the Secretary of State not to issue an exemption certificate or to revoke an existing certificate. As many of your Lordships will know, the First-tier Tribunal has wide experience of hearing appeals concerning regulatory matters and, indeed, is the body to hear appeals against decisions to serve civil sanctions in Schedule 1 to the Bill. The amendments also set out in the Bill the grounds on which an appeal may be made and the powers of the tribunal on hearing an appeal. The only matters that will be left to secondary legislation will be any further grounds that the Secretary of State may wish to add and the cost of an application for an appeal to the tribunal. I acknowledge once again the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and I beg to move.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I support these amendments. We are very pleased that the Government have listened to the Delegated Powers Committee and have addressed its concerns about too much detail being contained in guidance. We will return to this issue when we debate our Amendment 40, which seeks to establish regulations about how those dealing in ivory can verify the exempted status of the piece being bought or sold.

We also welcome government Amendments 17, 18 and 21, which considerably tighten up the basis on which appeals on exempted certificates can be made. We raised this issue in Committee and are very pleased that the Government listened to those arguments and have produced specific grounds for appeal that cannot be used to undermine the clarity of the decision-making process. We therefore support these amendments.

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I think it is customary that I thank the noble Baroness very much for her support for this group of amendments. It is an indication of the importance of the work of your Lordships’ House and the committees.

Amendment 7 agreed.
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Moved by
9: Clause 2, page 2, line 21, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “appropriate national authority”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanation of subsections (1A) and (1B) inserted in clause 37 by the Minister’s amendment at page 22, line 24.
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Moved by
11: Clause 3, page 2, line 39, leave out “guidance issued” and insert “regulations made”
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 3(1)(g) currently allows the Secretary of State to use guidance to specify information that a person applying for an exemption certificate must provide. This amendment requires the information to be specified in regulations instead.
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Moved by
14: Clause 4, page 4, line 21, leave out subsection (8)
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 4(8) currently allows the Secretary of State to issue guidance setting out the form or manner in which anything required by clause 3 or 4 may or must be done. This amendment removes this power.
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Moved by
17: Clause 5, page 4, line 34, after “appeal” insert “to the First-tier Tribunal”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment provides that an appeal against the refusal or revocation of an exemption certificate is to be made to the First-tier Tribunal.
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Moved by
29: Clause 9, page 6, line 1, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—
“(a) in the case of a museum in England, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, it is shown as being accredited in a list published by or on behalf of Arts Council England;(aa) in the case of a museum in Wales, it is shown as being accredited in a list published by or on behalf of the Welsh Government;(ab) in the case of a museum in Scotland, it is shown as being accredited in a list published by or on behalf of the Scottish Ministers;(ac) in the case of a museum in Northern Ireland, it is shown as being accredited in a list published by or on behalf of the Northern Ireland Museums Council;”Member’s explanatory statement
This main effect of this amendment, which is about how museums are to be identified as “qualifying museums” for the purposes of clause 9, is to replace the reference to Museums Galleries Scotland with a reference to the Scottish Administration. It is also intended to clarify the drafting.
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Moved by
33: Clause 10, page 6, line 37, leave out “guidance issued” and insert “regulations made”
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 10(1)(f) currently allows the Secretary of State to use guidance to specify information that the owner of an item must provide when applying for registration of the item. This amendment requires the information to be specified in regulations instead.
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There is something that I want to avoid—and to make clear in this new clause—when an estate has a valuable collection of ivories, or indeed any ivories at all. Let us say for the sake of argument that there is a collection of ivories of museum quality—netsukes worth £100,000, for example; a substantial amount—and the estate is well above the inheritance tax threshold. When looking at probate, HMRC will come along and say, “You are passing this extremely valuable collection on to your children under your will”. If this collection had been registered, it would have a value. It might be a value that a museum would pay; it might be a value, if it were less than 10% ivory, such that you could sell it on the open market, but it would have a value. But without it being registered, it has no value. This new clause tries to tease out this issue and hopefully get it on the record, and to make it clear to HMRC that an ivory item that is not registered has no value and therefore no value for probate, so the wonderful inspectors at HMRC should keep their sticky fingers off it.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Cormack’s amendment aims to enable a person who inherits a registered ivory item from a relative also to inherit the title to that registration. Self-registrations for items meeting the de minimis, musical instruments or portrait miniatures exemptions, or for items to be sold to an accredited museum, are in the name of the owner. If a new owner subsequently wishes to deal in that item, or wants to ensure that it is registered as exempt for any other reason, he or she must register it online in their name. A person inheriting a registered ivory item would assume the responsibilities of ownership of that piece, including the decision whether to register it in their name, in line with their specific circumstances. If a person inheriting or taking possession of an ivory item is unsure whether it is registered, this would not affect their rights or responsibilities as the new owner. Because the registration is associated with the individual, it therefore falls to the person inheriting the piece, as the new owner, to register the item if they wish to undertake dealing in it. I repeat: if they wish to undertake dealing in it.

The Government are working closely with interested parties to develop an online self-registration system for ivory items that will be quick and simple to use and meet the needs of all users. I also reassure noble Lords that an offline system will also be made available to cover the points that have been raised in other amendments. Of course—I emphasise this to my noble friend—for items under the rarest and most important items of their type, the exemption certificate remains with the item when it is passed to a subsequent owner. That is the distinction.

I turn to my noble friend Lord Carrington’s amendment concerning ivory items passing through probate. This is an important issue and I can reassure your Lordships that the Bill will not impact on, or cause additional burden to, those involved in such situations. The ivory ban does not affect one’s right to bequeath or inherit any ivory item, regardless of whether it meets an exemption, is registered or is certified. An ivory item may therefore be bequeathed without requiring registration by either the person inheriting the item or the executors of the estate.

The matter of inheritance tax has been clarified in your Lordships House before and I am happy to do so again for the record. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs confirms that ivory items will be considered to have nil value on the open market for inheritance tax purposes unless that item has been registered or certified as exempt. Items registered or certified as exempt will be assessed against their market value in the normal way and may therefore be subject to inheritance tax. With this explanation, I hope that my noble friend can withdraw his amendment.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Like the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, I too know when I am beat. I do not think it would serve any purpose to press this amendment. I am mildly comforted by what my noble friend said; maybe we can have conversations on this as the Bill comes into force. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

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Moved by
38: Clause 11, page 7, line 32, leave out subsection (5)
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 11(5) currently allows the Secretary of State to issue guidance setting out the form or manner in which anything required by clause 10 or 11 may or must be done. This amendment removes this power.
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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Amendment 40 concerns verification regulations. As we debated in Committee, it is imperative that the exemption processes introduced in this Bill are robust and proportionate. In Committee, we introduced a probing amendment that would allow the Secretary of State to create a verification system to enable buyers to ensure that they were complying with the law. We felt that this was particularly important, given that the definition of “dealing” in Clause 1 specifically includes buying as well as selling ivory. Even the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, with whom we on these Benches have found little common ground with regard to this Bill, concurred that it was a most sensible suggestion.

In response, the noble Baroness, Lady Vere, agreed that a potential buyer must be able to verify that it is legal to purchase the item before finalising the sale. She outlined how a buyer wishing to check the legality of buying or hiring an item would be able to confirm that it had been registered or certified as exempt and look it up on the online system via the item’s reference number. This would enable them to compare the photos and description on the system with the object they intended to purchase. This was a welcome commitment from the Government. I was disappointed, however, by the noble Baroness’s insistence that we do not need regulations to underpin such a system.

Noble Lords will be aware that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee report raised concerns about the scope of regulation-making powers contained in the Bill, concluding that the delegation of powers was inappropriate in many areas. We agreed with this view and feel strongly that it would be inappropriate for the purpose of establishing a verification system too. The verification process described by the noble Baroness, Lady Vere, must be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and should be set out in regulations. We feel that this is very important, given the legal implications for breaking the prohibition on dealing, as well as issues involving privacy and the protection of personal data. Indeed, it was for this reason that the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, advised that the Government would be unable to publish photos or descriptions of specific items exempted. We need to be much clearer about the verification processes that would underpin the Bill and the protections that would be afforded to the buyers, particularly when they are making online purchases, when fake sales particulars are all too often a hazard.

Having reflected on the Minister’s earlier response, we also believe that the negative procedure offers an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny for the verification of exempt items. Therefore, we hope that noble Lords will support this amendment, which would insert regulations, but to be approved only through the negative procedure. I beg to move.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, this proposed new clause would provide the Secretary of State with a new delegated power to make regulations and publish guidance to enable a potential buyer of an ivory item to check its exemption status prior to purchase. I reassure the noble Baroness that the Government will ensure that compliance, by both sellers and purchasers of ivory items, is fully facilitated. The Secretary of State will issue non-statutory guidance, which will set out the detail of each exemption and the requirements for self-registration or certification of exempted items. The guidance will also contain clear advice, for both buyers and sellers, on compliance, including the process by which a potential buyer will be able to check a registration or certification before purchasing an item. I also make the point that verification is in the Bill. We will provide administrative guidance to assist both the buyer and the seller.

I note that the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness would create an additional delegated power for the Secretary of State, by allowing him to specify how many items should be verified. Furthermore, to lay regulations to specify this would be a duplication of the relevant provisions already in the Bill.

Before I set out for your Lordships precisely how the registration system will work, which is important, and thus the measures in place to enable verification, I also note that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee of this House has considered the Bill in detail and made a number of recommendations to reduce the number of delegated powers, which, as we heard on earlier amendments, the Government have addressed.

Ultimately, it will always be in the seller’s interest to ensure that the exemption certificate or registration document is available at the point of sale. It would be appropriate for an antique dealer or auction house to display the certificate or registration details alongside the item or show it to customers at the point of sale. For online sales, we would similarly anticipate that a seller would show proof that the item has been registered or an exemption certificate issued.

We are currently working on the design and build of a new online system to enable owners of exempt items to register them prior to sale or hire. A potential buyer wishing to check the registration of an item will be able to look up that item on the online system, using the unique registration number provided on the seller’s registration document. The buyer will be able to view the information concerning that item held on the database to satisfy themselves that it indeed relates to the item in question. This will allow buyers the comfort that the seller has complied with the process and to verify the registration document.

For items with an exemption certificate under Clause 2 of the Bill—that is, the rarest and most important items of their type—we would in practice expect the seller to make the exemption certificate available to the potential buyer. Similarly, the potential buyer will also be able to consult the online database using the unique identification number on that exemption certificate.

That is why we do not need a power in the Bill to provide the means for buyers to verify that they can legally buy a certified or registered ivory item: as I have explained, it is our intention that this will be achieved through the functionality of the online registration system. This provides a clear means for the buyer to verify the legitimacy of their intended purchase. Furthermore, the Government will publish non-statutory guidance, which will set out exactly how sellers should provide buyers with the assurance that they are entitled to sell an item and that the transaction will therefore be lawful.

Before the Bill is commenced, we will run an awareness-raising campaign to ensure that relevant stakeholders and members of the public are fully aware of the new legislation and associated guidance. As such, we believe it would be unnecessary to include additional powers in the Bill to enable a potential buyer of an ivory item to check on the exemption status of an ivory item. As I have explained, this is precisely why perfecting the online registration system is so important and why work is under way on that.

I believe that the Government have covered the points that the noble Baroness seeks to address, given the explanation and a bit more detail. As the online system is developed, I am happy to ensure, for any noble Lords interested in these matters, a continuum of assurance that this work is well in hand. On that basis, I say to the noble Baroness that these points are covered. I sincerely hope she feels able to withdraw her amendment, because the Government have covered this point.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
Report stage (Hansard - continued): House of Lords
Wednesday 24th October 2018

(5 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-R-I Marshalled list for Report (PDF) - (22 Oct 2018)
Moved by
43: Clause 15, page 9, line 38, after “powers” insert “on police or customs officers”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I should say at the outset that the Government and I are sincerely grateful to the Constitution Committee for the clear recommendations outlined in its report, which we have considered thoroughly and addressed through the Government’s amendments to the Bill. I also express my gratitude to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and my noble friend Lord Cormack for raising this matter in Committee. At that stage, I promised that I would consider it fully and return to it on Report. Since then I have met the noble and learned Lord with officials on a number of occasions with a view to bringing forward the amendments tabled today. He asked me to say how much he regrets that he had to leave to fulfil a long-standing commitment outside the Parliamentary Estate. I am also permitted to say that he was prepared to put his name to the Government’s amendments to Clauses 17 to 19, and his name would have been on the Marshalled List had it not been for some timing on the day on which he sought to do so. Through those discussions, the Government have tabled a series of amendments that both address the concerns previously raised by the noble and learned Lord and my noble friend, and ensure that the ivory ban continues to be underpinned by robust and proportionate enforcement.

I must first clarify that, when I refer to accredited civilian officers, I am referring to officers of the regulator, which will be the Office for Product Safety and Standards. OPSS is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In Committee, I also acknowledged the Constitution Committee’s recommendation that the Government could more clearly define the enforcement role of accredited civilian officers. We have taken on board these recommendations by removing Clause 17 from the Bill, and proposing two new clauses, which will be inserted after Clause 22. Together, these ensure that the powers conferred on accredited civilian officers are set out separately from those conferred on police and customs officers. This ensures that the role of accredited civilian officers as regulators of compliance is now much clearer in the Bill.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, previously raised concerns about the extent of the powers conferred on accredited civilian officers to enter and search a premises. The Government have tabled a number of amendments that significantly restrict the powers of accredited civilian officers and I would like to explain these restrictions further. These amendments mean that accredited civilian officers no longer have a specific power to enter premises for the purpose of raising awareness of the provisions of the Bill. This amendment further clarifies OPSS’s core responsibility of assessing compliance with the sales ban.

The first of the proposed new clauses, “Accredited civilian officers: powers of entry”, clearly outlines when an accredited officer may enter a premises. “Premises” is defined in the Bill as any place, including,

“(a) a vehicle, vessel or aircraft;


(b) a tent or moveable structure”.

Subject to giving reasonable notice, accredited civilian officers may enter a premises if they reasonably believe it might be used in connection with the dealing of ivory, such as the back office of an antiques shop—that is, an area that is not publicly accessible—for only one of two reasons. The first is for the purpose of assessing compliance; the second is if there are reasonable grounds to suspect there is evidence relevant to an offence on that premises.

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Lord Grantchester Portrait Lord Grantchester (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I rise briefly in appreciation of these amendments, which are designed to address concerns about civilian use of policing powers. I, too, thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, for his interventions in Committee. I am grateful to the Minister for his willingness to carefully consider these issues and bring forward these amendments tonight. I also place on record our gratitude to your Lordships’ Constitution Committee for its scrutiny of the Bill and the recommendations that prompted the Government to rethink its approach to civilian enforcement bodies. These amendments deal with the concerns over policing functions, including the power of entry, search and seizure being exercised by civilian officials, and bring a more reassuring approach to their enforcement.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Cormack, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, and the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, for their support for these government amendments. I agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, that the function of this House is to consider these matters very carefully. We in government were very seized of the points that were made. I absolutely assure your Lordships that we have no intention of overstretching what I think is a better definition of what was the accredited civilian officer responsibilities. We have got there, and I am most grateful. I place on record again not only the Constitution Committee’s work on this but that of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, who I am sorry cannot be here tonight, because his contribution to getting us over the line and working together was another very strong example of how we get better legislation.

Amendment 43 agreed.
Moved by
44: Clause 15, page 9, line 39, leave out “sections 17 and” and insert “section”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
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Moved by
45: Clause 16, page 10, line 22, after “powers” insert “on police or customs officers”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
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Moved by
47: Clause 17, leave out Clause 17
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment leaves out clause 17, under which accredited civilian officers have power to enter and search premises. Instead, the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22 give accredited civilian officers a more limited power of entry, and a power to examine documents and other items, but not a power to conduct a search.
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Moved by
49: Clause 18, page 11, line 21, leave out “or an accredited civilian officer”
Member’s explanatory statement
Clause 18(2)(a) currently allows an accredited civilian officer to apply for a search warrant in England and Wales or Northern Ireland. The effect of this amendment is that this will no longer be possible.
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Moved by
56: Clause 19, page 12, line 19, leave out “or accredited civilian officer”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment of clause 24 at page 11, line 17.
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Moved by
60: Clause 20, page 13, line 2, leave out “an” and insert “a police or customs”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
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Moved by
64: Clause 21, page 13, line 22, leave out “an” and insert “a police or customs”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
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Moved by
66: Clause 22, page 14, line 4, leave out “An” and insert “A police or customs”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17.
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Moved by
68: After Clause 22, insert the following new Clause—
“Accredited civilian officers: powers of entry
(1) An accredited civilian officer may on giving reasonable notice—(a) enter premises that the accredited civilian officer reasonably thinks may be used in connection with dealing in ivory (including any item that is made of ivory or has ivory in it) for the purpose of assessing compliance with the provisions of this Act, or(b) enter premises on which the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that there is relevant evidence.(2) In this Act “accredited civilian officer” means an officer of the Secretary of State who is authorised by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this Act.(3) A notice under this section must—(a) be in writing,(b) be given to the occupier of the premises,(c) set out the purpose of the proposed entry, and(d) explain the effect of section 27 (offences of obstruction).(4) The requirement in subsection (3)(b) may be complied with by delivering or leaving the notice at the premises or sending it there by post.(5) This section—(a) does not authorise the entry into premises used wholly or mainly as a dwelling;(b) authorises entry only at a reasonable time.”Member’s explanatory statement
The new clause inserted by this amendment confers powers of entry on accredited civilian officers. These powers are more limited than those currently given to accredited civilian officers under clause 17, as the new clause does not confer a power of entry for the purpose of promoting awareness and understanding of the provisions of the Bill once enacted.
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Moved by
70: Clause 23, page 14, line 24, leave out “section 22” and insert “sections 22 and (Other powers of accredited civilian officers)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the second of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
71: Clause 24, page 15, line 5, after “22” insert “or (Other powers of accredited civilian officers)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the second of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
72: Clause 25, page 15, line 25, after “22” insert “or (Other powers of accredited civilian officers)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the second of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
73: Clause 26, page 16, line 7, leave out “17” and insert “(Accredited civilian officers: powers of entry)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17 and the first of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
74: Clause 27, page 16, line 39, leave out “or accredited civilian officer”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment of clause 19 at page 12, line 22.
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Moved by
75: Clause 28, page 17, line 6, after “22” insert “or (Other powers of accredited civilian officers)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the second of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
80: Clause 35, page 21, line 4, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “appropriate national authority”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanation of subsections (1A) and (1B) inserted in clause 37 by the Minister’s amendment at page 22, line 24.
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Moved by
83: Clause 36, page 21, line 19, leave out “17(7)” and insert “(Accredited civilian officers: powers of entry)(2)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment leaving out clause 17 and the first of the new clauses inserted by the Minister’s amendments after clause 22.
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Moved by
87: Clause 37, page 22, line 24, at end insert—
“(1A) In this Act “the appropriate national authority” means—(a) the Secretary of State, for regulations that do not apply in relation to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland;(b) the Welsh Ministers, for regulations that apply only in relation to Wales; (c) the Scottish Ministers, for regulations that apply only in relation to Scotland; (d) the Northern Ireland department, for regulations that apply only in relation to Northern Ireland.(1B) But in the case of regulations that apply in relation to England and any other part of the United Kingdom, or in relation to any other part of the United Kingdom and not England, the appropriate authority is the Secretary of State if each necessary consent is given.The “necessary consent” is—(a) the consent of the Welsh Ministers if the regulations apply in relation to Wales;(b) the consent of the Scottish Ministers if the regulations apply in relation to Scotland;(c) the consent of the Northern Ireland department if the regulations apply in relation to Northern Ireland.(1C) The Secretary of State must consult the Welsh Ministers, the Scottish Ministers and the Northern Ireland department before making regulations prescribing a fee under section 3(1)(h), 4(7)(b), 5(4) or 10(1)(g).”Member’s explanatory statement
The inserted subsections (1A) and (1B), read with the amendments substituting references to “the appropriate national authority”, require most regulations under the Bill applying outside England to be made either by the relevant devolved authorities or with their consent. Under the inserted subsection (1C) the Secretary of State must consult those authorities before setting fees by regulations.
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Moved by
92: Schedule 1, page 29, line 6, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “appropriate national authority”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanation of subsections (1A) and (1B) inserted in clause 37 by the Minister’s amendment at page 22, line 24.
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Moved by
99: Schedule 2, page 34, line 9, leave out paragraph (d)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment of clause 18 at page 11, line 17.
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Moved by
102: Schedule 2, page 36, line 7, leave out “or accredited civilian officer”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the Minister’s amendment of clause 18 at page 11, line 17.
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Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am moving Amendment 104, which deals with the Government’s obligations in the international CITES resolution. We debated this issue in Committee and it remains a concern to a number of the wildlife and elephant charities. This amendment would insert a preamble linking the Bill to the resolution adopted unanimously by Governments at the 2016 conference of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—CITES. This calls on all Governments to close domestic ivory markets, which contribute to the poaching of and illegal trade in ivory.

As we explained in Committee, the government amendments introduced on Report in another place, while welcome, had the accidental consequence of removing the explicit link between the Bill and CITES. There is now nothing in the Bill to make it clear that this legislation was drafted partly in response to the resolution adopted unanimously by Governments at the 2016 conference of parties to CITES.

We raised this concern in Committee, where the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, reaffirmed the importance and relevance of CITES. However, he argued that an explicit link in the preamble was unnecessary, given that the aforementioned government amendment made it possible to go further than CITES and broaden the scope of the Bill to all ivory species.

While we welcome this provision, we nevertheless believe that such a preamble would strengthen the Act against possible judicial and European Court of Human Rights challenges by confirming that the legislation enables the UK to comply with international obligations to control domestic ivory markets under a UN-backed treaty. Moreover, as the Minister himself noted:

“No other provision in the Bill could be limited by a reference to CITES”.—[Official Report, 12/9/18; col. 2353.]


We therefore do not accept that the reference to CITES is as limiting as the Minister would have us believe. Indeed, there are precedents for this, notably in the original legislation to implement CITES in the UK under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976. This Act also covered thousands of non-CITES species.

We believe that this amendment, contrary to what the Minister has argued, would have the effect of strengthening rather than weakening the Bill. I beg to move this amendment and hope that noble Lords will support it.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the noble Baroness’s amendment would insert a preamble to the Bill to reference the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, and the important resolution agreed at the CITES COP 17 regarding closing elephant ivory markets.

In Committee, I assured the noble Baroness that the removal of a link to CITES in the Bill was not an unintended consequence. It was as a direct result of the amendment made in the other place to enable the Secretary of State to broaden the scope of the Bill in the future to all ivory-bearing species, rather than only those listed under CITES. We are confident that there is no need for a reference to CITES in the Bill, and we do not believe that it would provide additional protection to the Bill, for example against legal challenge.

In Committee, I reassured your Lordships that, as a very active party to CITES, the UK will continue to be bound by and committed to its obligations under this important convention. The UK ivory ban is consistent with our obligations under both CITES and the EU wildlife trade regulations, and therefore neither need to be cited in the Bill. It is also the case that the ban goes much further than both CITES and the EU wildlife trade regulations in restricting the commercial dealing in ivory.

For example, amending Clause 35 to remove reference to CITES species and include reference to all ivory-bearing species means that all ivory-bearing species—not only CITES species—can be added to the scope of the Bill in the future if the outcome of an information-gathering exercise, such as a consultation, supports this. Therefore, the UK has gone further than outlined in the CITES resolution on elephant ivory. While I appreciate the noble Baroness’s intention to provide protection to the Bill, again I must say that we do not believe the preamble is required.

I want to make one other practical point following advice I have received. The noble Baroness referred to a preamble from much earlier legislation. It is now the case that primary legislation uses the long title to specify a Bill’s objectives, instead of a preamble.

I well understand all the connections with CITES and the EU trade regulations, but this Bill goes further. Therefore, we cannot support the noble Baroness’s amendment, for the reasons I have outlined, and I ask her to withdraw it.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
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My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his response. We accept that the Bill has gone further than the original CITES treaty. Our objective in putting the CITES reference in the preamble was to firm up the Government’s justification, if you like, for having the Bill in the first place. We have been debating this for several days now and we are still trying to justify why we have to do it, and this is part of the continuing justification.

Given that there is still some unhappiness out there—if not indeed in your Lordships’ Chamber—our intention with what has been proposed in the Ivory Bill was to give it some legal extra bottom, if you like, in terms of why we are doing it by referring to a UN-backed treaty. Nevertheless, I accept that the Minister is saying that this was not an unintended consequence but was in fact deliberate. Time will tell whether it would have helped to have our reference in the preamble, because only in time will we know whether there are legal challenges to this.

However, given the lateness of the hour, we do not intend to move to a vote. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Ivory Bill

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Excerpts
3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 13th November 2018

(5 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Ivory Act 2018 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 119-R-I Marshalled list for Report (PDF) - (22 Oct 2018)
Moved by
Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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That the Bill do now pass.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con)
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My Lords, I express my gratitude to all noble Lords for their interest in the Bill and their contributions. Whatever else, we are all united in our desire to protect such a magnificent animal in the wild.

I bring it to your Lordships’ attention that I have placed in the Library of the House, with their permission, copies of letters received from my noble friends Lord De Mauley and Lord Carrington regarding Clause 7, “Pre-1947 items with low ivory content”, and my response to them. Specifically, these letters concern the definition of “integral” and the means of assessing the 10% de minimis threshold. In particular, the letters confirm that the ivory content of an item for the purpose of the de minimis exemption is to be determined as a percentage of the total volume of material in the item.

I am grateful for the positive engagement and support of the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, on the Opposition Benches, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. I also express my gratitude to the Constitution Committee, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The Government responded positively to the recommendations made by these committees and I agree with the comment made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, on Report that this was,

“a very good model of how this House works”.—[Official Report, 24/10/18; col. 948.]

I am also grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, for raising insurance transactions and for the subsequent discussions that led to the resolution of this matter on Report. I also place on record my gratitude for the contributions that my noble friend Lord Hague made during the passage of the Bill, and for the experience he brought of what is really happening in the worldwide threat to the elephant.

I take this opportunity to thank each of the devolved Administrations for their productive engagement and the support they have shown for the Bill. Finally, I thank my noble friend Lady Vere and the hard-working Bill team, my private office and the clerks for their work and support.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
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My Lords, the Bill represents a significant step towards ending the illegal elephant-poaching crisis. It will enshrine in UK law the commitment made at the 2016 CITES convention to close down the domestic ivory markets that fuel illegal poaching. We believe that the exemptions permitted, carefully crafted in consultation with stakeholders, strike the balance between being robust and pragmatic. I welcome the Minister’s clarification that we can help by taking the value out of the market.

The Minister raised the question of items containing voids and the de minimis issue. While we agree very much with the advice that he has now given, there may be occasional cases where assessing the ivory content of an item is not straightforward. We believe that such items ought to be rare and can be picked up in the guidance that will follow.

--- Later in debate ---
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Portrait Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville
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May I speak? Thank you, my Lords. I will be brief. The UK has shown that it can lead the way in protecting the elephant. We have adhered to CITES and have moved forward tremendously in banning the trade in ivory objects in our country. Prior to the Bill, a large percentage of new ivory was being laundered through our country, masquerading as being of pre-1945 and pre-1918 vintage. There is still some way to go before the Bill can be implemented but there is now a clear timetable for how that will progress. I look forward, once the Bill is enacted, to a consultation on the other animals with the misfortune to have expensive trophies as part of their anatomy: the narwhal, the hippo and the rhinoceros, as the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, said. It is important that in banning elephant ivory we have not substituted another animal for the poachers to target.

I thank the Minister for his briefings and his patience and the Bill team for their very helpful information that was provided at all stages of the Bill. I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, for the leading part that she has played during the passage of the Ivory Bill. The plight of the elephant is of great importance to all those who sit in your Lordships’ House. Often our debates fall into party-political camps but that has not been the case with the Ivory Bill; the House has been united across all Benches to ensure the passage of this legislation. I am extremely proud of having played a small part in that process. I look forward to a similar meeting of minds on some of our future legislation, but I am slightly more pessimistic about that in the near future.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait Lord Gardiner of Kimble
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My Lords, I have listened to all the remarks that have been made. It has been an honour for us all to have been a part of this legislation. I will reflect on all that has been said. This is an international effort. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.