According to The Sunday Times, civil service documents that were photographed on a train revealed plans to re-address the way the government aims to tackle the trade in illegal wildlife.
Details of the policy change were contained in the papers of a senior civil servant at the Department for International Trade (DIT). It included speech notes of Tim Hitchens, the director-general of economic and consular affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
However a government spokesman said: “The UK is a global leader in tackling the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) and plays a key part in worldwide efforts on climate change, including implementing the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. Our commitment to both issues is as strong as ever.”
Some senior civil servants have been reported to be frustrated that Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, is only focused on signing tariff-free trade deals.
Separately, the government, via Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is due to launch a consultation on the ivory trade in UK. The consultation was due in January but is still expected to be launched “shortly”, according to a government spokeswoman.
The consultation, which will take the form of a survey and will last around 12 weeks, is on the ban on the sale of items containing ivory dated between 1947 and the present day.