Delayed legislation includes ban on trophy hunting imports and stricter sentences for puppy thieves
Senior sources in the Conservative party have confirmed to the Guardian that a series of policies including a ban on trophy hunting imports, stricter sentences for puppy thieves and a ban on live exports of livestock have been put on pause after a campaign led by Mark Spencer, the chief whip.
The minister responsible for the policies, Zac Goldsmith, is understood to have heard the news just before taking off on a flight to Ecuador.
Spencer, who is a farmer, is understood to be less than keen on the animal-friendly policies touted by Boris Johnson and his influential friends including his wife, Carrie, and Lord Goldsmith.
Others within the party, in rural constituencies, have privately complained that the animal welfare policies have been campaigned for by people who live in cities, and that it has made them unpopular with landowning, shooting donors and voters.
Many backbenchers hope the next Tory leader is unlikely to continue with the legislation as it is unpopular with influential figures in the party.
Allies of Johnson have told the Guardian that the policies are “as good as dead” if the prime minister faces and loses a vote of no confidence.
Goldsmith said: “It’s not just that the future of government is uncertain. So too is continued leadership on climate and nature. The measurable truth is that we are now world leaders and have moved things massively on nature – abroad and here (with much more to come) If this PM goes, that very likely ends.”