An MP has called on the government to ensure there is a new freedom of movement scheme for dogs to replace the current EU pet passport scheme that will be lost as a result of Brexit.
Tory MP Bob Stewart made a plea for an extension of the arrangements as he explained that his two dogs make several trips across the Channel each year.
The issue was raised as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove answered questions on the current Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
The Brexiteer MP for Beckenham told the Commons: ‘Our two French-speaking dogs cross the Channel several times a year on a pet passport.
‘And on their behalf, and on behalf of all other dog owners that take their labradors… on behalf of all pet owners who take their dogs abroad on a pet passport, can I ask (Gove) if there will be similar arrangements after December 31?’
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Gove responded: ‘Yes, I completely sympathise with (Stewart) and many, many other responsible pet owners.
‘In my previous role (as environment secretary), we made sure that we worked on arrangements in order to ensure that travellers could take their pets abroad when they are visiting the European Union and vice versa.’
Speaking in French, Gove added: ‘We always defend the rights of dogs.’
Stewart joined Gove in voting to end freedom of movement for people after Brexit, as part of the government’s immigration bill.
His comments provoked anger from those who have campaigned to stay in the EU and retain the rights for humans, as well as animals.
‘There’s a really good scheme run by some neighbouring countries,’ wrote one. ‘They’ve come together to form some sort of union thing; it works really well for this sort of stuff. We could join it.’
‘Typical entitled Tory. Always looking for loopholes so that rules apply to everyone but them,’ said another.
‘So there you have it,’ tweeted Nick Tolhurst. ‘Vote Brexit, and be treated worse than a dog.’
‘Does he not understand that Brexit means Brexit?’ asked Michael Hunt.
‘The death of irony has been witnessed so many times on twitter that we’re going to have to come up with some sort of zombie analogy’, wrote Andy Grayson.