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Country News - 2004

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Hunting: cat and mouse continued

Tueesday 26 October 2004

THE controversial bill to ban fox hunting is back in the House of Lords today (Tuesday, October 26) but the cat-and-mouse game over its future continues.

So far, pro-hunting peers have been playing their cards close to their chests when it comes to revealing what amendments they will make to the bill - but it is widely rumoured that they will put forward a compromise solution.

This would ban stag hunting and hare coursing - but allow fox hunting to continue under licence.

This is believed to be the proposal favoured by the Government and Countryside Minister Alan Michael, who has become a reviled figure to many country folk and dubbed the Minister for Rural Misadventure.

But even if peers do propose a compromise today, Labour MPs are expected to reject it when it comes before them on the last day of this parliamentary session next month. This would mean that this winter could see the last season in England for the centuries old tradition.

But there still remains the question of whether the Government will use the Parliament Act - a rarely enforced piece of legislation designed to deal with major constitutional emergencies - to force the bill through. So the cat and mouse game goes on...


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