|Andrew Rosindell MP, right, blocks circus animals ban|
Britain's handful of remaining circus animal trainers have been given another brief respite from the threat of an impending ban.
Jim Fitzpatrick's private member's bill to implement a government ban was due for a second reading today but was blocked by Conservative MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell.
The House of Commons was almost deserted - which shows how little interest the circus animals issue is to politicians of any party. (Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently admitted it was low priority)
The Deputy Speaker asked for those in favour and one person spoke - Fitzpatrick himself. She then asked for those against and Rosindell stood up to object - which was all it took. Fitzpatrick apparently took the defeat badly and Madam Deputy Speaker had to shout to regain order.
Rosindell is a long term supporter of the circus. The above photo shows him with Martin Lacey and Helyne Edmonds, directors of the former Great British Circus. The shot appeared in the circus' 2009 programme, in the foreword of which he wrote:
"As the Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare I am proud to be associated with one of Britain's biggest and best animal circuses. The Great British Circus is a wonderful traditional day out."
Martin Lacey's retirement means the Great British Circus is no longer with us. But the threat of a ban has not gone away.
Click here to read Andrew Rosindell's explanation of his objection to the circus animals bill.
Update: 17 December
Jim Fitzpatrick's bill has now been blocked seven times. He will try again January 9. But is there a limit to the number of times he can keep bringing his bill to Parliament, or will the issue be brought to the Commons and blocked every few weeks from now until the next election? Sounds to me like it's becoming more of a pantomime than a circus...
Read about my visit to the Great British Circus in Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.
Click here to read the 100-year history of attempts to ban animals from the circus.