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HUNTING - Yet another vote
Posted 1 September 2001
The future of hunting is still in the balance following another government fudge. Hunting opponents - who number a clear majority of MPs as well as the general public living in both rural and urban areas - had hoped that the government would use the Queen's speech to announce legislation to enforce a total ban. Instead, there was a pledge merely to give MPs another chance of a 'free vote' on the issue.
The new bill is likely to offer the same three options as contained in earlier doomed legislation - to leave things as they are, continue hunting under licence with modest changes (the so-called Middle Way option); or to implement a total ban.
If, as anticipated, MPs vote overwhelmingly once again for a total ban and the Lords reject their verdict, the way is open for the government to invoke the Parliament Act to override the Lords.
Although the Parliament Act is not traditionally employed when proposed legislation is the subject of a free vote, the likely size of a Commons majority is a strong argument in favour of its use. There is also the precedent of the Act having been employed in the last parliament to force through a bill lowering the gay age of consent to 16.
So there is still all to play for on hunting, even though it is reported that Blair is keen to settle for the Middle Way option. We need to do all we can to build the biggest possible parliamentary vote in favour of a hunting ban.
- Please write to your MP and tell them that this is a key issue, supported by a majority of the public, who do not want to be let down yet again. House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1.
- Help us to campaign against all animal abuse - make an online donation now.