Michael Gove Eliminated in Tory Leadership Contest

Michael Gove

Michael Gove has been eliminated in the final round of voting by MPs in the Conservative Party leadership contest. The result of the vote means that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will now go through to the final vote of members of the party, with the winner being announced in late July.

The voting in the fifth round was as follows:

Boris Johnson – 160 votes

Jeremy Hunt – 77 votes

Michael Gove – 75 votes

Finn’s Law Introduced to Protect Service Animals

Michael Gove

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill has come into force, which gives extra protection to service animals such as dogs and horses. The law takes its name from Finn, a police dog, who was stabbed whilst in a chase with his dog handler, PC David Wardell.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, said:

“This law is about giving our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals. Congratulations to all those who have campaigned to make Finn’s Law a reality and to Sir Oliver Heald for campaigning for this from the start.”

PC David Wardell said:

“The last two-and-a-half years have been quite a journey of discovery for Finn and me. We decided that we just had to bring change to make sure our amazing service animals, including police dogs and horses, had protection in law. We wanted to bring as much positivity from that one negative as we could.

The campaign was run positively on me and my family’s request and it was wonderful to see so many thousands of people getting involved. Clearly our service animals are held in high regard, as they should be. We must now make sure we follow up this amazing news on #FinnsLaw with #FinnsLawPart2, the increase in sentencing, as soon as possible.”

Mark Harper Becomes Latest Conservative to Stand for Leadership

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean, has become the twelfth candidate to put his name forwards for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

The current candidates are now:

James Cleverley
Michael Gove
Matt Hancock
Mark Harper
Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson
Andrea Leadsom
Kit Malthouse
Esther McVey
Dominic Raab
Rory Stewart

Three More Candidates Join Conservative Leadership Contest

Three more candidates have joined the contest to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, bringing the current number of candidates to eight.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Andrea Leadsom, the former Leader of the House of Commons, and Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary, have declared their candidacies over the last day. The five already announced candidates were:

Rory Stewart – the Secretary of State for International Development

Jeremy Hunt – the Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock – the Secretary of State for Health

Boris Johnson – the former Foreign Secretary

Esther McVey – the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Government Announces New Deposit Return Scheme

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced that the Government will be introducing a new deposit return scheme to encourage recycling. The decision comes after Ministers have visited other European countries to examine how recycling has worked in reducing the amount of waste being created.

Gove said in a statement:

“We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled. We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans”.

There will now be a consultation which examines how a deposit scheme would work and how it would be funded.  The Scottish Government has already announced that it is to introduce a similar scheme and the Welsh Government is also looking into a similar project.

Government Announces New Northern Forest

The Government has confirmed that funding will be given to a new Northern Forest as part of a 25-year environmental plan. The aim will be to plant over fifty million trees in a forest which will span around 120 miles, with project funding confirmed by Theresa May, the Prime Minister.

The entire project will cost around £500 million with £10 million having been raised by the Woodland Trust and a further £6 million being announced by the Government.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, said in a statement:

“Trees are some of our most cherished natural assets and living evidence of our investment for future generations. Not only are they a source of beauty and wonder, but a way to manage flood risk, protect precious species, and create healthier places for us to work and live.

This new Northern Forest is an ambitious and exciting project that will create a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast, providing a rich habitat for wildlife to thrive, and a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy. This new forest will help us deliver a Green Brexit and help to deliver on our pledge to leave the environment in a better state than we found it”.

Government to Increase Sentences for Animal Cruelty

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has said that sentences for those guilty of animal cruelty could significantly increase. The current maximum sentence for animal cruelty is six months in prison, but the Government is proposing to increase this to five years imprisonment in the most serious of cases.

Gove said in a statement:

“We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.

These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts. This is one part of our plan to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead”.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said:

“We are thrilled that the Government has responded to calls from the RSPCA and members of the public to toughen up sentences for the worst animal abusers. We now feel that those who commit these acts will soon be receiving sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crime and hope this will act as a real deterrent against cruelty and neglect.

The RSPCA picks up the pieces of animal cruelty every day of the year. Our inspectors regularly rescue animals from horrific circumstances of mistreatment, brutality and neglect. It is only through the prosecutions that we take that many of the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The strength of feeling behind a move to toughen up these sentences is huge – but at the moment the courts are limited by the law under which the strongest sentence for animal cruelty is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine – but this rarely happens.

Michael Gove’s promise to bring sentences in line with Northern Ireland – which has a maximum of five years imprisonment – should help to deter people from abusing and neglecting animals and will finally mean that the sentence fits the crime”.

Michael Gove Announces New Animal Welfare Measures

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced a package of new measures aimed at improving animal welfare. Measures proposed include compulsory CCTV at every slaughterhouse in England and also increasing the standards for farm animals and domestic pets.

Gove said in a statement:

“We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader. As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards”.

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said:

“The Food Standards Agency takes a zero tolerance approach to any breaches of animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses. Last year, we concluded that it was time to make CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses, progress on voluntary adoption having plateaued.

I and the Board of the FSA warmly welcome Defra’s consultation about making CCTV mandatory. We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs. We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry”.

Brandon Lewis, Immigration Minister, Announces Change to Government Policy on Freedom of Movement

Brandon Lewis, the Immigration Minister, has said that EU freedom of movement will end in March 2019, just hours after Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said that there would be no “cliff edge”. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had also indicated last week that there would be no sudden end to freedom of movement.

Lewis, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, said that freedom of movement would end at the moment that the UK left the EU, saying “we’re very clear that free movement ends when we leave”. The Government’s change of policy is expected to concern business groups including the CBI, who have been supporting an extension to the freedom of movement rules.

Earlier today, Amber Rudd, had announced that the Migration Advisory Committee would be asked to report on EU migration and its implications for the UK economy. The Government said that this report, which was welcomed by the CBI, would still be commissioned.

Diane Abbot, the Shadow Home Secretary, welcomed the report but criticised the view of Brandon Lewis and said that no changes should be announced until the report had been completed. She said:

“There is far too much heat and not enough light about immigration, so any truly objective and well-informed analysis must be welcome”.

Government Backtracks Over Liam Fox’s UK-US Trade Deal

The Government has back-tracked today over Liam Fox’s announcement that a proposed trade deal between the UK and the US would not rule out the import of chlorinated chicken. Chlorinated chickens are currently banned by the EU for health reasons, but Fox indicated that the issue could be discussed as part of the negotiations.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that there was no discussion to be had on the issue. He added:

“I made it perfectly clear, and indeed this is something on which all members of the government are agreed, that we are not going to dilute our high animal welfare standards or our high environmental standards in pursuit of any trade deal”.