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.
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Lords can defeat government on EU rules

This is a busy week in the Lords as we have the chance to defeat the government on some key amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which retain crucial environmental principles. I’m hoping for lots of votes. The Labour and Lib Dem whips mustn’t skip over anything crucial because they are worried about the Lords over stepping its role. If something is wrong with the legislation, then we need to say so. 

Continue reading “Lords can defeat government on EU rules”

25 years before we stop putting ‘avoidable’ plastic waste into our Oceans?

The Government made a ban on plastics the centrepiece of its 25 year Environment Plan, but leaked documents have since shown it is lobbying against the 65% recycling target for urban waste by 2035 which the EU is proposing. The 25 year plan aims for “zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042″, which is just too little, too late.
If plastic is avoidable, then we should be avoiding it as soon as feasibly possible. Our seas are already choking on plastic – we can’t keep going on like this for another 24 years.

Continue reading “25 years before we stop putting ‘avoidable’ plastic waste into our Oceans?”

New year will start with a recycling crisis

Here in the UK we have an emerging problem with plastic. Huge amounts of plastic waste, supposedly due for recycling, could end up in UK incinerators in 2018 as China imposes restrictions on the type of recyclable materials it is willing to import. Greenpeace estimates that 2.7m tonnes of plastic waste has been shipped from the UK to China between 2012 and 2016. Yet despite warnings from the industry, our government has done nothing to build up the capacity to recycle plastics in this country.

Continue reading “New year will start with a recycling crisis”

Questions raised with Gove about Red Tractor pig farms

I’ve written to the Environment Minister, Michael Gove, about alleged failures of the Red Tractor farms to guarantee minimum standards of animal welfare. An investigation carried out by the organisation Animal Equality exposed serious welfare problems on four British Red Tractor pig farms and includes video footage. Continue reading “Questions raised with Gove about Red Tractor pig farms”