Shadow defra minister Fiona O'Donnell has called for the government to move faster to implement a ban on wild animals in circuses.
On 1 March 2012 during questions to the department for environment, food and rural affairs the shadow minister accused the government of being "out of touch with the public" and "hiding behind the spurious threats of legal challenges in the EU".
Agriculture Minister James Paice said: "It's impossible to put an exact date on it but I would be extremely surprised and disappointed if it is not implemented before the next election."
In a written statement on the same day, Mr Paice announced the government's plans to outlaw the practice of touring circuses using animals.
He said that the government wanted to make sure the legislation was "watertight" to avoid being "bogged down in courts for several years under challenge with no protection for the animals".
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and her team also answered MPs' questions the administrative burden on farmers and water resources.
The session also included questions to the Church Commissioners, answered by the MP for Banbury Tony Baldry.