Letter: Fox-hunting

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The Independent Online
Sir: Over and above the issue of hunting with hounds, I find myself astonished today by the attitude of the Government towards a Private Member's Bill. Are these things mere courtesy moments to allow backbenchers to play-act at legislating, or do they exist in their own right as ways to extend in a democratic way the opportunities to create legislation? I'm confused.

If it is possible for the Government to say, "put that away now chaps, there's good boys" as seems to be the case where Michael Foster's Bill is concerned, then why do we have Private Members' Bills at all? To add insult to injury, this Bill is supported by 70 to 80 per cent of the general population, many of whom voted for Labour because of its pre-election stance regarding various animal welfare issues.

By what right does the Government so arrogantly deny extra parliamentary time to turn into law what most of the country wants, and which the opinion poll to be conducted on the floor of the House of Commons on 28 November will endorse?

VALERIE PAYNTER

Hove, East Sussex

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