Ranil Jayawardena MP Opinion Piece—November 2018

You know that North East Hampshire is—and always will be—important to me. As your Member of Parliament, I believe it is right not solely to champion our great area and be a voice for constituents in their time of need; but to be our elected representative to our country’s national legislature too—making and shaping decisions affecting the future of the whole of the UK and beyond.

One particularly urgent concern is the conservation of our environment for generations yet to come. That is why I attended the 2018 International Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade recently, hosted right here in London by HM Government. Protecting our environment means not just north Hampshire, but the climate, wildlife and planet we all share and want our children and grandchildren to have the opportunity to enjoy too—including those species currently endangered and facing extinction.

I believe passionately that we must protect those who cannot protect themselves, including the twenty thousand elephants horrifically murdered for their ivory annually—one grotesque slaughter every twenty six minutes. The effect on the Asian elephant population has been tragic—halving in number in just three generations—and, only last month, I had to raise with the Prime Minister the Botswana survey that poignantly found ninety carcasses near a famous African wildlife sanctuary.  

Needlessly causing suffering or death to such gentle creatures is wholly abhorrent and, when you first elected me to Parliament in 2015, I stood on a manifesto that promised to tackle the international wildlife trade and press for a total ban on ivory sales. As founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Endangered Species, I am delighted to say I helped the House of Commons pass a Bill to deliver on that promise—and that, after much lobbying from me and others, the Department for International Development has provided a further £6 million uplift to the ‘illegal wildlife trade challenge fund’ to help protect some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species.

If I can help you with anything closer to home though, please pop along to my ‘Tell Ranil’ sessions—details are on my website as always—or drop me a line.