Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herbert has criticised the Government for failing to support new proposals from a group of African countries to introduce a 20-year ban on ivory sales
The proposals are being discussed at the fifteenth Cites Conference of the Parties in Doha.
"The UK used to be a strong leader in these issues, and in this, the 20th year since the ivory ban was introduced, we should be taking a strong stand to defend that ban robustly", Herbert said.
"Yet the Government has shamefully refused to support the Kenyan proposal for a ban on sales and continues to support the principle of stockpiling ivory".
"We should be choking demand for ivory, not stoking it", he said. "Instead of flooding the market with more ivory and legitimising the trade these stockpiles should be destroyed. "
Some countries have made a proposal in support of stockpiling ivory, but Herbert has written to those who are against this to pledge his support for a ban on any future sales for at least 20 years.
In his letter to the Environment Ministers of the nations who are proposing the ban - Kenya, Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda and Sierra Leone - he said:
"The UK Conservative Party is disturbed about the recent rise in poaching across Africa and India and shares concerns that this rise may be linked to the stockpile sales in 2008. This upward trend is also particularly troubling given the growing links to organised crime and use of money generated by poaching to fund terrorism – meaning that 'blood ivory' truly is today's 'blood diamond'.
We are also strongly supportive of your specific proposal to introduce a moratorium on any future proposals to ensure that stockpile sales can be taken off the agenda and the ban on the trade in ivory can robustly be defended. I am pleased to be able to state that a future Conservative government in the UK would support a moratorium on sales if it is not passed in Doha and is then tabled at a future COP."