Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con)
It is a privilege to speak in this debate and consider the amendments and new clauses tabled by my hon. Friends the Members for North Herefordshire (Sir Bill Wiggin) and for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope). I am grateful for the constructive way in which they and the Government have consulted on them. I am happy that new clause 4 will be accepted, as it would establish an advisory board on how a trophy import ban will operate when it becomes law. Amendment 1, which would remove the Secretary of State’s discretion to add species, will also be accepted.
New clause 4 covers many of the concerns that my hon. Friend the Member for North Herefordshire set out. I trust that across the House we want to see the best conservation of endangered species around the world, whether that is in Africa, North America, parts of Asia or elsewhere. The Bill is about banning the importation of endangered species’ body parts into this country not only from Africa, but from around the world. I note that my hon. Friend will not press the amendments on the sunset clause, on monitoring and on how the Bill would work in respect of Northern Ireland, but new clause 4 covers many of those concerns.
Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP)
I am glad the hon. Member mentions the issue of Northern Ireland. I raised the point in Committee that with EU law applying in Northern Ireland, the importation of trophies could be done through the Irish Republic into Northern Ireland and then across to Great Britain—a back-door way of circumventing the important provisions of the Bill. What assurances have we had that that back door can be firmly locked so that trophies cannot come through Northern Ireland into the rest of the United Kingdom?
The detailed response to that needs to come from the Minister, not from a simple backwoodsman Back Bencher, but I have had assurances from Ministers that Northern Ireland will not become some sort of back door or stepping stone for the introduction of trophies from endangered species into Great Britain. The Windsor framework, subject of course to its agreement by the House next week, and the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 should cover those concerns, but I defer to the Minister, who will no doubt address that question shortly.
In conclusion, I am happy to support new clause 4 and amendment 1. I am grateful that the other 30 amendments and new clauses will not be pressed. I hope that we can move on to ensure that this legislation protects the most endangered species in the world, and that Britain plays its full part in doing that, and that it can proceed to its next phases both here today and later on in the other place.