Parliament
The ivory bill was debated by MPs for the first time in the House of Commons on June 4.

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The latest debate, the committee stage, will see amendments proposed by members of the House to the wording of the bill which proposes a near-total ban on the trade in ivory.

Amendments proposed include the size of the percentage of the so-called ‘de minimis’ exemption and the meaning of the wording on objects that can be deemed of ‘outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value’.

LAPADA chairman Lord De Mauley and Lord Carrington proposed that the date in the bill be changed from pre-1918 to pre-1947, which is the current date that worked ivory can be traded under UK law. The change would allow for the trade in many Art Deco items containing small amounts of ivory.

The pair also proposed changing the amount referred to under the ‘de minimis’ exemption from 10% to 50%, while Lord Cormack backs a change to 20%.

Items containing ivory of less than 10% by volume will be able to be traded under the proposed new law but owners will require a certificate.

Portrait miniatures containing ivory will be allowed to be bought and sold with a certificate. However, Lord Cormack recommends that the current size range of portrait miniatures stipulated in the bill of “a surface area of no more than 320cm²” should be deleted. He said: “Not all miniatures would be covered by this limit. This amendment would allow more flexibility in judging miniatures.”

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch proposed that there should be a limit of one replacement certificate being issued for an exempted item.

Report stage

The House of Lords will debate the amendments today (September 10) before the bill goes to report stage and its third reading in the Lords. Parliament then considers the amendments tabled.

The bill was launched in parliament on May 23 and passed its second reading in the House of Commons on June 4 with unanimous support. It is now making its way through the House of Lords before Royal Assent to make the bill into an Act of Parliament. 

During the summer amendments from the House of Commons inserted into the bill were to include other forms of ivory, and to seek a consultation on this, and imposing a size restriction on the portrait miniatures exemption.

The details of the ivory bill can be found online at parliament.tv and ATG has compiled a comprehensive guide to the UK ivory ban.