A parliamentary debate on the ivory trade is to be held this afternoon in the House of Commons' Westminster Hall ahead of the launch of a government consultation.

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The debate over the ivory trade has intensified since the first parliamentary meeting that was held on December 8.

Calls have been made for a total ban on the trade in ivory and members of the conservation community say current rules – that allow pre-1947 ivory to be traded – are used as cover for illegal trade. However the art and antiques industry is arguing the case for the trade in antique ivory to still be permitted. 

Victoria Borwick, Kensington & Chelsea MP and president of the British Antiques Dealers' Association, has been speaking up for the antiques trade at numerous events. She is expected to again speak at the debate in defence of the antique ivory trade today.

Gather Views

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is launching its consultation with a survey to "gather views from experts from across the environmental sector and antiques industry to make sure the rules around the ban are clear and effective."

The consultation outcome could lead to a requirement to prove the age of ivory items. 

Environment minister Andrea Leadsom announced plans for a crackdown on the trade in ivory last September. 

The parliamentary debate, which was triggered by a public petition which received more than 100,000 signatures, will take place at 4.30pm and can be watched at: