Leona Lewis and Diane Abbott join forces demanding ban on wild circus animals

Hackney-born superstar singer Leona Lewis has joined forces with MP Diane Abbott in a London-wide campaign urging the government to ban wild animals from circuses.

MPs will vote in Parliament this Thursday whether to ban what is regarded by many as a cruel and outdated practice.

While some circuses now wow their audiences with talented acrobats and clowns, others do still transport wild beasts, like tigers, lions and zebras, around the country in trailers, and force them to perform.

The Labour Government pledged to outlaw the use of wild animals following a public consultation last March, where 94 per cent of respondents backed a ban.

Shadow Health Minister and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Ms Abbott said: “This issue has struck a chord with people from all walks of life across London.

“After a year of delay, the Tory-led Government has failed to ban the use of wild animals in circuses and London is making itself heard on this issue.’

In a letter sent to Diane Abbott, Leona Lewis, a constituent and a supporter of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), said: “I know that many MPs agree with the vast majority of the public and would like to see an end to this practice.”

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Other celebrities backing a ban include comedians Ricky Gervais and Alexei Sayle, actors Brian Blessed and John Nettles, BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and musicians Brian May and Jay Kay.

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition circulated by national newspaper The Independent’s in the last two weeks.