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Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill

Volume 838: debated on Friday 24 May 2024

Third Reading


Moved by

A member of the most excellent Privy Council has to give King’s consent, so I suggest that the House adjourn during pleasure for two minutes so that a privy counsellor can join the Government Front Bench.

Sitting suspended.

My Lords, I have it in command from His Majesty the King to acquaint the House that His Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill, has consented to place his interest, so far as it is affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

Motion agreed.


Moved by

My Lords, I will say a very few brief words. First, I will redress an omission from my Second Reading speech in not paying tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Paul, who has been a very generous donor to the Zoological Society of London. We should all recognise his valuable contributions.

Yesterday, I advised the excellent director of the Zoological Society of London, Matthew Gould, that he might have to invest in some groundhogs, because this Bill was threatened with extinction and I was not sure that we would get it through. However, with my extremely grateful thanks to so many people both in your Lordships’ House and down the other end, the civil servants and a lot of people from the very highest—or almost the very highest—to Back-Benchers like me, we are where we are today. I thank everybody for bringing this Bill back from the brink, just as the Zoological Society of London has over the years brought back species that were threatened with extinction. I particularly mention my honourable friend Bob Blackman, who did so much work down the other end.

This Bill will give us certainty for important conservation work, which will create an opportunity for the Zoological Society of London to create a world-leading centre for nature. I hope, understand and can see that nature is shooting up the international agenda. ZSL will also be able to update and improve a lot of the facilities in the zoo. As we heard at Second Reading, the zoo gives a lot of pleasure not just to noble Lords but to people all over, young and old. I advise any noble Lords who get a little fed up with the endless election broadcasts to go and have a few minutes talking to the animals and refreshing themselves.

I will very briefly add my thanks to my noble friend Lord Randall of Uxbridge, who has stewarded the Bill expertly through your Lordships’ House, not least in the last 24 hours, when he has been a redoubtable champion for it. I echo his thanks to our honourable friend Bob Blackman MP, who championed it in another place. I thank my noble friend the Chief Whip, who sprang like a gazelle into your Lordships’ Chamber to make sure it could reach the statute book. As my noble friend Lord Randall says, it enjoys the wholehearted support of the Government and, as we saw at Second Reading, unanimity of support from across your Lordships’ House. I am grateful to officials in my department who have worked on it, not least to my private secretary Rebecca Tuck and our colleagues in my private office, Jack Mattless, Claudia Harper and Nausheen Khan, who have been excellent zookeepers to me over the past couple of years.

Bill passed.