The bill would “make provision prohibiting the import of hunting trophies into Great Britain”.

The text of the bill is the same as that of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23, after it was amended in the Commons. This was also a Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Henry Smith (Con), which had government support. The Conservative manifesto for the 2019 general election contained a commitment to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals.

That bill reached committee stage in the House of Lords, but did not proceed further. More than 60 amendments were tabled at committee stage. Five amendments were debated when the committee sat on 12 September 2023. But no further time was provided to debate the bill and it fell at the end of the parliamentary session.

For further background on trophy hunting and the 2022-23 bill see the Commons Library Briefing on Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill (16 March 2023) and the Lords Library Briefing on Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill: HL Bill 119 of 2022–23 (6 June 2023)

Bill provisions

The ban would cover species listed under the Principal Wildlife Trade Regulations 2018. These lists are broadly equivalent  to the lists of species in appendices I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) that are either threatened with extinction or in which trade is controlled to prevent over-exploitation. Currently, hunting trophies from these animals can be brought into Great Britain if they have the required import and/or export permits from the country where they were hunted.

The ban would apply to any animals hunted after the date that the legislation came into force. The date would be set out in regulations by the Secretary of State.

The 2022-23 bill was amended during its passage through the House of Commons to remove a power that would have allowed the government to make regulations to change which species were covered by the ban. A new requirement was also added for the Secretary of State to establish an Advisory Board on Hunting Trophies. This was in response to concerns raised by some Members that expert opinions differ on what the impacts of a hunting trophy ban might be on countries where animals are hunted. For example, the extent to which hunting is a financial incentive for improved species conservation.

The government produced explanatory notes to accompany the  2022-23 bill, although they were not updated to reflect the changes made to the bill in the House of Commons. In addition, the government produced an impact assessment in 2021 on a ban on the import of hunting trophies.

The Parliament Acts

The Parliament Acts prevent the House of Lords from exercising an absolute veto over public bills that are passed by the Commons in successive sessions. As long as a year elapses between second reading in the commons in the first session and third reading in the second session; and the House of Lords has at least one month in each session to consider such bills, they are presented to the King for Royal Assent without being agreed to by the House of Lords, unless the House of Commons resolves otherwise. 

This bill is the same as the bill that was sent to the House of Lords in the 2022-23 session, which did not complete its passage through the Lords.

If the current bill is passed by the Commons and sent to the Lords at least one month before the end of this session but not passed by the Lords, it could be enacted anyway, under the provisions of the Parliament Acts

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