MPs to invoke Parliament Act to bring in ban on fox hunting

Seven years of argument in Parliament over fox-hunting will end this week, almost certainly with the Commons invoking the Parliament Act to over-rule the House of Lords and ban the controversial sport outright.

The House of Lords has one more day tomorrow to argue over details of the Hunting Bill, but it is thought highly unlikely that they will be able to agree on a version of the Bill that would have a chance of being accepted by the Commons.

There were rumours last week that government whips were going to try to broker a last-minute compromise because ministers wanted to avoid going into an election campaign next year against a background of angry protests from hunt supporters.

But the whips have denied getting involved in the issue, in which MPs have a free vote: any compromise that would have a reasonable chance of being passed by MPs would have been unacceptable to hunt supporters.

Denis Tunnicliffe, the former boss of the London Underground who was elevated to the peerage in May, made what was perhaps the last serious attempt to avoid a ban when he delivered his maiden speech in the Lords last week.

He proposed that the Lords should pass a version of the Bill which would have banned hare-coursing and stag-hunting, but permitted strictly regulated fox-hunting to continue in some parts of the country.

But supporters of hunting, including the Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu, regarded Lord Tunnicliffe's proposal as a method of introducing a ban by stealth. Baroness Mallalieu is also an avid supporter of stag-hunting.

When the Bill is brought back from the Lords to the Commons tomorrow or on Tuesday, MPs will almost certainly reject the amendments introduced by the peers, and use the Parliament Act to enforce a ban.

The battle over fox-hunting will then move from Parliament to the law courts, where the Countryside Alliance will seek a ruling that the Parliament Act is illegal.

It will also carry on in the countryside, where at least one fox-hunt will take place each day next week.

MPs have voted consistently in favour of an outright ban on fox-hunting, stag-hunting and hare-coursing since the Labour MP for Worcester, Michael Foster, introduced a private member's bill in November 1997 that would have outlawed hunting with dogs. The promise of a free vote of MPs on a ban had been included in Labour's 1997 manifesto.

But the sports won a temporary reprieve through the Government's apparent reluctance to act. Although Tony Blair has publicly declared his support for a ban, he is thought to be very reluctant to antagonise the well-organised pro-hunting lobby.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is also reluctant to have the police drawn into enforcing the ban when hundreds of hunt supporters have pledged to carry on hunting in defiance of the law.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie