The trading and sale of illegal wildlife products, such as ivory and endangered species for medicines, is a dreadful act. It often helps finance other crimes and terrorist groups and contributes towards the extinction of species. Only this week the last male white rhino died.
I wanted assurances from the minister that the Government will be working with all departments – the Home Office in particular – so that when people are found with illegal wildlife products they can face the full force of the law. Especially when it comes to financial penalties.
On Tuesday I asked the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Boris Johnson MP, about the UK-US relationship following the election of Donald Trump. In particular, I wanted to know what steps he has, and is planning to take, to ensure that the USA remains a supporter of Article 5 of NATO to maintain peace and stability within Europe.
Article 5 is the guarantee that if one NATO member is attacked all other members will take action to defend the attacked nation. This has only been used once in its 75 year history and that was after 9/11.
Most concerning is the more aggressive stance from Russia to nations on its western border. Nations in the Baltic states are now fearing their independence which was hard won. We need to maintain vigilant and display our unity to outside aggressors.
The Secretary of State reconfirmed Britain’s membership of NATO and of Article 5. He informed the House that he believed that it was understood in Washington that NATO is a vital security measure that needed to be maintained.