Many constituents are concerned about the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (Amendment) Bill 2016 and live animal exports. Due to a full day of constituency engagements I will not be able to attend the Second Reading of this Bill but will closely follow its progress.

I do understand the strength of feeling about this issue and believe animals should be slaughtered locally wherever possible. However, under European Union single market rules it is illegal to ban the export of animals to other EU countries. Instead there are EU and UK laws to protect the welfare of live animals during transport and amending the 1847 Ports and Harbours Act could not effectively circumvent this.

While the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union, it will remain a member and will continue to exercise the rights and obligations that come with membership. The UK's involvement in EU rules on animal welfare and trade will likely form part of the negotiations, with future policy in this area considered by the Government in the context of these talks.

I can assure you that the Government will continue to pursue a more sustainable approach to the transport of livestock on long journeys and has already called on the EU Commission to update the rules on welfare during transport where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a change.