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The department, now led by Michael Gove MP, issued statements via Defra junior minister Thérèse Coffey in parliamentary written questions and answers this month.

Coffey said: “Any further UK restrictions on the sale of ivory would be subject to consultation. Details of the timetable for such a consultation would be announced at launch.”

The statement from Coffey came as foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the government has “a commitment to an all-out ban on the sale of ivory in this country, and that is what we intend to pursue”.