Gary Lineker tells the British government to ban trophy imports in a Times letter

NEWS AND OPINION: The British government is debating a ban on trophy hunting imports into the UK. The bill passing through Parliament is the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-2023. This is a promise made by this Conservative government. But I’m told today that there is a possibility that the bill might not pass through the House of Commons because not enough MPs will turn up! And there are some Conservative MPs who are against this law.

Upadte 17/03/2023: The Bill passed the House of Commons. It now goes to the House of Lords after which all being well it will become law. Good news. I am surprised to be honest. Environment minister Trudy Harrison said: “Actually, dare I say that Cecil the lion has not died in vain. It is an emotional day for all of us for very many reasons.”

Gary Lineker writes to The Times to encourage British members of Parliament to vote for a ban on the importation of trophies from trophy hunting
Gary Lineker writes to The Times to encourage British members of Parliament to vote for a ban on the importation of trophies from trophy hunting. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

For example, Sir Bill Wiggin, the Conservative MP for North Hertfordshire, has tabled an amendment allowing trophies if it could be shown that the hunting contributed to conservation of animals. That is complete bollocks. That is an amendment designed to put a stop to the passage of this bill through Parliament.

This man, has probably been lobbied by the hunting fraternity and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a connection to the organisers of trophy hunting in Africa.

And because there is a distinct possibility that this bill will not become an act of Parliament, Gary Lineker and others have written to The Times newspaper asking MPs to turn up on Friday to support the bill. Bloody right too! Except it seems that Lineker is taking the piss out of the BBC and Tim Davie the Director General after the fiasco of Lineker’s tweet about the government’s immigration policy.

Campaigners against trophy hunting and their importation into the UK fear that the Commons will be inquorate i.e. not enough MPs because many members of Parliament return to their constituencies on Fridays.

The letter states:

“It would be a crushing blow to democracy if a measure promised in four Queen’s Speeches were lost because not enough MPs turned up.”

It certainly would be a crushing blow to democracy. It would be highly irresponsible and frankly pathetic. And if this promised law is not created by this government I will stop voting for the Conservative party. Trophy hunting and trophy hunting imports are disgusting.

Sir Bill Wiggin’s amendment could, The Times states, create a large loophole because some African states issue expensive licences with the declared intention of improving conservation. But does the money really filter down to conservation? Is it pocketed by corrupt officials?

If you build into this law any weaknesses they will be exploited mercilessly because trophy hunting is very profitable and where there is this kind of money commercial enterprises will find a way to keep it going.

As I understand it, this is a private members bill and they are vulnerable to sabotage from small groups and even a single MP. Apparently by tradition if fewer than 40 MPs take part in a vote (a division) the bill is stood down and the politicians move onto the next piece of business.

And apparently less than half of the MPs needed for a Commons vote on this bill have said that they will turn up. This points to a failure in the passage of this bill through Parliament.

And although the ban on trophy imports is official government policy, ministers have failed to allocate time to debate it. There clearly is a lack of commitment in doing the right thing, the moral thing. And that’s because the Conservative party is populated with people who probably quietly agree with trophy hunting.

A lot of them agree with foxhunting and have connections to the Countryside Alliance which is a body campaigning for foxhunting and other “country pursuits” which are essentially cruel to animals.

So Lineker has done something good here in the general sense but probably strained his relationship with the BBC further. I disagreed with the tenor of his tweet about illegal immigration but I massively agree with his signing of this letter to The Times. He’s got this very right. In fact, he has often used his Twitter account to criticise trophy hunting. Good for him.

There was a story some time ago about a video in which the wife of the National Rifle Association Chief, Wayne Pierre, killed an elephant, cut off its tail and held it in the air and shouted “Victory!”. Lineker tweeted in response to this disgusting video: “How could you ever do this? Truly abhorrent”.

His tweet received 10,000 likes. And Lineker responded in a tweet to the reported news that Boris Johnson had abandoned his pledge to ban trophy hunting imports. That tweet received 12,000 likes. His tweet was one word: “What??”

In the past, Lineker has described the shooting of leopards for sport as sickening when he shared an online petition by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

Others who have signed The Times letter are sportsmen and sportswomen including: Tessa Sanderson, Joe Bugner, Martin Offiah, Peter Shilton, Frank Bruno and Chris Kamara (not comprehensive list).

My thanks to The Times newspaper for this report.

Some more on the topic of trophy hunting.

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