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Illegal Wildlife Trade

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 26 June 2018

We believe that the illegal wildlife trade is not only odious in itself but associated with many other forms of criminality. That is why we are hosting a global conference on tackling the illegal wildlife trade in London this October.

According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, illegal wildlife trading is increasingly occurring on the interweb. Will my right hon. Friend tell me what steps are being taken to counter this?

My hon. Friend is right on the money there, and indeed ahead of the curve. We see that risk, and that was why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a group of leading technology companies only a few weeks ago to develop new ways of combating the online trade in these specimens that he mentions.

The Foreign Secretary is right to say that this trade is odious, but what positive suggestions will the Government take to the conference in October? Are we going to let more species be wiped out before this trade is stopped?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Government are among the world leaders in introducing an ivory ban. The Chinese have joined us and are bringing many others with them. We hope that the summit will be an opportunity for other nations to join that global ivory ban and, with partners, will be looking to strengthen not just the pull factors in China and other countries, but the authorities as they crack down on illegal trade in wildlife.

One of the very rarest and most threatened species in this country is the wildcat. It clings on in my constituency—just. Will the Secretary of State assure me that he will do everything to police this invidious and horrible crime in the most remote areas and work as closely as possible with the Scottish Government to stamp it out?

I am delighted to say that we will do everything in our power to stick up for the wildcat wherever it is found—[Interruption.]

Order. The hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Jamie Stone) seems to have a compendious knowledge of rare species, and we are very grateful to him.