The second reading of the ivory bill took place in the House of Lords last week. Image:

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Although the majority of members of the Lords supported the bill, a handful of members of the upper house spoke in favour of amendments including Lord De Mauley, Lord Inglewood, Lord Cormack, Lord Carrington of Fulham and former BADA president Baroness Rawlings.

Lord Inglewood, president of the British Art Market Federation (BAMF), suggested that the mechanics of the de minimis should be changed.

“What to me is perverse… is the almost kafkaesque process of registration,” he said. “The cost of registration may well exceed the value of the item in question and the ivory elements of which are of little or no interest to the Asian market — which is, after all, the root cause of the elephant’s plight.

“This bill merits general support but, with a little tweaking, it could become excellent legislation which I could wholeheartedly endorse.”

Lord De Mauley, chairman of art and antiques dealer body LAPADA, said: “I want to make sure that what we enact and put on the statute book is workable and does not collapse under the weight of its own bureaucracy.”

The House of Lords committee stage debate will be on held on September 10 and 12 on the floor of the Lords.

The environment minister Michael Gove hopes to enact the legislation in October.

■ For more on ivory, see letters in this issue.