Orders of the Day — Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 18th November 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire 2:15 pm, 18th November 2004

I beg to move manuscript amendment No. 1,

"leave out from '52C' to end."

Before I speak to the amendment and to the amendments proposed by the other place, I should explain why my name appears on the amendment with what might reasonably be described as a fairly unholy alliance of individuals. Our reason for tabling it is simple and principled—namely, because the way in which the Minister tabled his motion would have required us either to vote against the amendments tabled by the other place in order to secure his timing proposals, or to vote against his timing proposals. That is wrong. It is reasonable that we in this place should speak and vote in support of amendments proposed to us by our noble Friends, and that we subsequently have the opportunity to support what the Minister has proposed with regard to timing. It is unreasonable, however, to place us in the position of being unable to speak in favour of the amendments from the other place in order to try to secure the delay that the Minister proposes. We are therefore ready to consider the entire question of the Minister's motion and to seek to strike down the part of it that is to do with the timing of an outright ban.

Today's debate is not only about implementation dates, which the Minister largely focused on—it is about all the proposals from the House of Lords. I shall try to address several of those as well as the very important issue of when the Bill and the ban should be implemented.

Before I do so, I should say that this debate has all the feelings of the final act of a sombre and melancholy tragic drama. For me, it is the end of a kind of parliamentary nightmare—a ghastly rural soap opera in which ignorant urban interests triumph over the countryside. For a few moments last night, I was glad that this would be the last time that I rose at this Dispatch Box to discuss hunting—[Interruption.]