Full Bill on hunting could be dropped

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Tony Blair is planning to allow only an "indicative vote" on a ban on fox hunting – stopping short of introducing a full Bill to outlaw the bloodsport in this Parliament.

Government business managers plan to allow MPs and peers to give their opinion on whether hunting with dogs should be banned, through a vote on a parliamentary motion. They believe the device will satisfy Labour's manifesto commitment to a "free vote" on the issue and will be quicker than introducing a full Bill.

But the move is likely to infuriate animal welfare groups and anti-hunting MPs who want a "cast-iron guarantee" that a ban will be pushed through. They want the Government to use the Parliament Act to overrule the House of Lords, which has consistently voted against a ban. Two hundred Labour MPs are planning a renewed campaign to persuade the Government to bring a ban forward.

A spokesperson for the major anti-hunt coalition, which includes the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "An indicative vote is worthless unless it results in a ban."