Circuses are no place for wild animals. I believe that this is a view shared not only by many animal welfare organisations, but also the vast majority of people in our constituency.

The Coalition Government published a draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill in 2013 but did not make time for it to become law. Despite a 2015 manifesto commitment to implement a ban, the government also failed, during the last Parliament, to introduce the necessary law. The government has now said it will introduce a legislative ban before its interim regulations expire in January 2020.

The Wild Animals in Circuses Private Members’ Bill was scheduled to have its second reading debate on March 16, but time ran out before the Bill was debated. It was unable to make progress without debate because one or more MPs objected, and second reading is now scheduled for June 15. However, it is very far down the list of the Bills due to be discussed that day. If the Bill is successful, operators of travelling circuses which currently use wild animals would have until 1 December 2019 to remove them.

An outright ban is long overdue and I believe that the current, alternative approach of licensing is ineffective and outdated.

I will continue to press for a total ban at every opportunity.