No three line Labour whip for Animal Sentience

At yesterday’s debate in the House of Lords on the EU Withdrawal Bill I had to drop my amendment to retain the EU’s rules on Animal Sentience, as part of the Withdrawal Bill, because Labour withdrew its two line whip just as I was about to push it to a vote. My amendment was the same that Caroline Lucas put to the Commons and received a lot of support.

Labour had been promoting a Crossbench amendment on Animal Sentience which went further than retaining the EU rules. I signed and supported this attempt, but I also expressed my belief that it wouldn’t get a majority as it lacked the simplicity of my amendment. In the spirit if cross party working I even agreed to let the Crossbench amendment go first after being lobbied by the Opposition whips.

The Crossbench amendment was too complicated so it fell, and we lost too many peers who wanted to go home to vote on mine. It is disappointing that the simple amendment had to be dropped when I truly believe that it has the majority support in the Lords. I hope that either myself or Caroline make another attempt at making the government see sense on this.

On positive point to note. The Minister said:
“I would like to reassure noble Lords—and I know that the noble Lord, Lord Trees, is particularly interested in this fact—that the Government and the EU have reached agreement on an implementation period following our exit from the EU until the end of December 2020, and Article 13 would continue to apply during that period.”
It gives us longer to be organised for the next bill.