THE Hunting with Dogs Bill is being returned to the House of Commons today after being rejected for the second time by the House of Lords yesterday, which gives MPs to the right to bring emergency powers which will criminalise tens of thousands of country folk.
But if the Commons uses the Parliament Bill to enforce a total ban on hunting, it could be itself acting illegally, according to high powered lawyers representing the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance.
The Parliament Act was introduced by Lloyd George almost 100 years ago when Tory peers were blocking his efforts to introduce the old age pension. It was revised again in 1949 - under a Labour Government - but there is some doubt whether those revisions were legally voted in.
If so, say the lawyers, to use it to ban hunting would in itself be illegal.
Whatever happens today in this grim battle of power ping pong, one thing is now absolutely certain: the countryside faces months, if not years, of political civil war because millions of country dwellers feel that their rights have been trampled by a politically correct, urban majority acting out of prejudice rather than high-minded morality.