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It had been expected to announce a response ahead of the Easter weekend, but a spokesman said it will come “shortly”.

The consultation on exemptions closed on December 29 and Defra has been analysing the 60,000-plus responses.

The full detail of a ban and how it will be implemented will be announced later in the year.

The suggested exemptions were: musical instruments; items containing only a small proportion of ivory; items of significant historic, artistic or cultural value; and sales to and between museums.

Mark Dodgson, secretary general at The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA), said: “We hope the government will recognise that our historical and cultural heritage has no connection to the tragic modern-day killing of elephants, and that the UK will continue to focus on offering practical help to range states, so they can better tackle poaching of ivory at source.”