I think it’s important to pay tribute to our grass roots campaigners. Contrary to what some of my political opponents may falsely say, getting letters, emails and telephone calls from people in the Yeovil and South Somerset constituency is very welcome and central to my role as a representative. Although I have a great team helping me to organise things I try to read everything to comes into the office because there is no substitute to hearing first hand opinions.
Some campaign groups are better organised than others and harness new techniques. Twitter, for example, gives a very different impression from doorstep conversations in the beautiful towns and villages of Somerset.
Since becoming an MP I think it is right to say that I have received more letters and emails about environmental and animal rights issues than anything else, and these are important to me.
I am happy to report that thanks in part to the ‘Lucy’s Law’ campaign, the Government is moving to ban 3rd party puppy and kitten sales. An outright ban that will mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder or with one of the nation’s many animal rehoming centres. Lucy was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescued from captivity in a bad way. She went on to live for three happy years but became a symbol of awful puppy breeding and sparked a campaign against it.
A consultation has been launched about third party sales and you can give your view on the website at this address: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/third-party-sales/ . The new laws would also stop kittens and puppies being taken away from their parents when very young.
Along with many other MPs I have been calling for action on moving related laws into the 21st Century. I first formally wrote to Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Ministers back in 2016 about kitten sales pointing out that the internet has meant the number of traders looking to make money out of kitten and puppy sales has rocketed and that the law needed to take account of that.
My role in this has been small however. Many MPs privately complain about organised campaigns that bombard their office with letters, postcards and emails. I say ‘bring it on’. This Government has been really proactive in environmental and animal welfare issues including single use plastics, microbeads and increasing sentences for animal cruelty. Outside of EU regulation we can go further. Let’s all keep going in the right direction.
The House of Commons returns this week so I will be in Westminster for some of the time but my office there and in Yeovil is open throughout. If you would like to get in touch, to book an appointment at one of my regular advice surgeries or to let me know your thoughts please do email Marcus.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01935314321.