Foxhunters scent victory as ban recedes
Wednesday 30 July 1997
Campaigners for the ban on hunting face an uphill struggle in Parliament after the Government adopted an ambivalent attitude to the Private Member's Bill by Michael Foster, the Labour MP for Worcester. The anti-hunt campaigners believe that they will win an overwhelming majority in the Commons for the Bill's second reading, but they expect it to be ambushed in the Lords and last night were privately talking about the scope for a compromise.
Mr Foster announced that he is to launch a consultation exercise before introducing the Bill, which will include the views of the British Field Sports' Association, which helped to organise a recent rally of 100,000 hunt supporters against his Bill, in Hyde Park, London.
Some in the pro-hunt lobby said last night that they would settle for legislation to regulate their sports, but would oppose a total ban. The anti-hunt campaigners conceded that they may be forced to ditch parts of the Bill banning fox hunting outright, but may secure measures to limit "digging out" and the use of terriers to go after foxes when they have gone to earth.
Ministers have privately hinted that if the Bill is stopped in the House of Lords, they could allow it to be revived in its amended form in the next session of Parliament.
They are privately considering following the precedent of the Act to protect mammals from cruelty successfully introduced by Alan Meale, Labour MP for Mansfield, after an earlier Bill by John McFall, Labour MP for Dumbarton, was blocked in the Lords because it included a clause to ban foxhunting, which had to be dropped. The anti-hunt campaigners are to tour Britain by bus to drum up support for the Bill. They feel the pro-hunt lobby scored a public relations coup with the Hyde Park rally, which sowed doubts in the Government's mind, about its pledge to provide a free vote on banning hunting. "There was a bit of a panic that things were getting out of control. It came at the same time as the headlines about reducing the age of consent for gays, and raising the age for smoking. There was a fear that it was it was getting like Clinton's first term," said a Labour source.
The Prime Minister's office last night denied performing a U-turn over foxhunting and said it had not ditched an election manifesto commitment to allow a free vote on the anti-hunting bill. Peter Mandelson, the minister without portfolio, also denied he was opposing the Bill.
The Government is worried that the Bill will block legislation in the House of Lords next Spring when it is pressing ahead with its two major Bills on devolution to Scotland and Wales.
The Wildlife Network is campaigning for a compromise to regulate the use of terriers which it claims cause the most cruelty to the fox.
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...