A debate on the ivory trade will take place in the House of Lords on December 21.

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The debate will be opened by Lord Carrington of Fulham and among those listed to speak will be Labour peer Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, shadow spokesperson for environment, food and rural affairs, and Lord Hogan-Howe, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner, who will make his maiden speech. Lord Gardiner of Kimble will respond on behalf of the government.

As first revealed in ATG, Lord Carrington of Fulham will argue that although the “trade in poached ivory has to be stopped” there has to be “a balance between stopping the sale of new ivory and preserving hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years of artistic heritage in antique worked ivory”.

"Rigorous vetting"

Lord Carrington will propose the idea of a licensing system and will argue: “Without exemptions from a blanket ban, all but those items of museum quality would be unsaleable and therefore likely eventually to be destroyed. 

“The question is how to structure exemptions which don’t allow the poached ivory market to pass off new ivory as antique.

“The trade has long-established experience in the rigorous vetting for prestigious fairs. It should be possible to have confidence in identifying antique, worked ivory and certifying it for sale in licensed dealers and auction houses.”