PORTSMOUTH North MP Penny Mordaunt has joined calls for a ban on circuses using animals.
The Tory spoke in Parliament backing a ban, which was supported by MPs of all parties inspired in part by footage of a circus elephant being beaten with a pitchfork.
Agriculture minister Jim Paice ruled out a ban, saying said the cost of meeting strict new government regulations would stop circuses using animals.
He also admitted there were fears circus owners could sue the government, using human rights regulations, if such a ban was imposed.
But Ms Mordaunt said: ‘It would be very unlikely this would be challenged. There are fewer than 40 animals that would need to be rehomed and a ban would seem to be the most pragmatic way forward.’
Labour’s Robert Flello, who led the debate, said: ‘I fail to see how keeping wild animals in mobile cages as they travel around the country is in the best welfare of the animals concerned.’
Tory MP Zac Goldsmith led his party’s calls for a ban.