Government 'will force hunting ban through defiant Lords'
Hunting will be banned despite vociferous opposition from peers who are planning to block the legislation, a minister signalled yesterday.
Lord Whitty, an Environment minister, gave the Government's strongest indication yet that it will use the Parliament Act, a rarely employed technical device that allows the Commons to force legislation through the Lords.
The warning, in a debate in the House of Lords, means that a ban on hunting in England and Wales is likely by next year. Lord Whitty said that he planned to "facilitate the view of the elected house" which voted overwhelmingly before the summer to ban hunting.
He told peers: "It has been argued that the use of the Parliament Act would not be appropriate for this Bill. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves but should there be no way through and should the Bill be frustrated in its passage rather than scrutinised or improved the Government could not stand in the way of the proper use of the Parliament Act."
Lord Whitty added, in a signal not to block a ban, as peers have previously: "There is no legal or constitutional reason why it can't be used."
A majority of peers oppose a ban. Baroness Mallalieu, president of the Countryside Alliance, said yesterday that those who went hunting would become criminals under the proposed ban.
She said that the legislation banning hunting with dogs was a "vindictive little Bill". She added: "The people this Bill seeks to criminalise are a selection of the most law-abiding, responsible and decent citizens in this country. The Government has let them down. Prejudice not principle, bigotry not evidence, has been allowed to prevail."
Baroness Byford, a former member of the Quorn hunt, and the Tory spokeswoman on the hunting Bill, said that it was a "sell out", which would result in more foxes being killed each year. "It will allow slaughter all the year round, there will be no closed season," she said. "The 362 MPs, including some 36 Scottish members, who voted for a complete ban have neither regard nor understanding for the welfare of wildlife."
Earlier this year MPs - including 60 ministers - tore up the Government's proposals for a licensing system for fox hunting. A huge majority of MPs voted for a ban.
The Government indicated its intention to back the will of the Commons yesterday. But some opposition politicians indicated that they preferred its original proposals for a system of licensed hunts. Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer, a Liberal Democrat frontbench spokeswoman, said that the Bill sent to the Lords by MPs would not be not in the interests of the countryside, animals or civil liberties. "The issue of pest control cannot be dodged in the name of an ideology," she said.
"I believe the Bill the Government introduced into the Commons in this session almost struck the right balance between which species should not be hunted with dogs and in what circumstances regulated hunting might be considered."
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...