Orders of the Day — Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:44 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:44 pm, 18th November 2004

My hon. Friend is quite right. I think it showed great willingness to be reasonable on the part of Members to agree to the delay of commencement until 2006. I am asking them now to go the extra mile. Whether they do so or not is in their hands. It is Members of this House who will vote on the two motions in lieu; I simply seek to persuade them to consider the 2007 option.

My proposal for a delay until July 2007 would indeed be a compromise between the Lords' proposal for 1 December 2007 and the House's earlier proposal for 31 July 2006. Hon. Members will know that my hon. Friend Peter Bradley has tabled an amendment to reinstate the 31 July 2006 commencement date, which gives my hon. Friend David Winnick an opportunity to vote in the way in which he has suggested. I do not feel passionately about the choice between the two dates, but it is important for us to demonstrate—as my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North did when he agreed to 2006 on the last occasion—that this House is being reasonable, as well as insisting on the Bill being in the form for which this House has voted on a number of occasions.