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Country News - 2003

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Total hunting ban today?

Monday 30 June 2003

REBEL Labour MPs are expected today to torpedo Government attempts to find a compromise on promises to ban fox hunting - and try to force through the House of Commons a total ban.

Labour promised to abolishing hunting with dogs in its election manifesto in 1997 but senior figures - said the include the Prime Minister itself - were taken aback by the huge swell of protest that the proposal bought from mainly country folk.

After the foot and mouth debacle, when the Government's popularity in rural areas nose-dived, ministers came up with a compromise scheme which would allow hunting to continue in mainly upland areas like the Yorkshire Dales.

These plans were carried into the present parliament but in debate scheduled for the Commons today (Monday, July 30), backbench Labour MPs are expected to vote for an amendment which would mean a total ban.

That, however, is not necessarily the end of the story. The proposed ban would have to be approved by the House of Lords - and hunt supporters there are already said to be planning their own ambush.


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