Orders of the Day — Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Mr Peter Bradley Mr Peter Bradley PPS (Rt Hon Alun Michael, Minister of State), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:45 pm, 18th November 2004

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, whose support is valuable given his reputation on this issue. He is absolutely right; there can be no reason for anyone in the country to believe that the House is acting unreasonably if we provide an 18-month delay to allow hunts to make their arrangements and to change to drag hunting if that is what they choose. What would be unreasonable is for the House of Lords to reject the motion. It would be perverse indeed if those who claimed to support hunting were those who put the last nail in its coffin.

Not many Members have remarked on it but, last Tuesday, those Opposition Members who support hunting voted for a Bill that they voted against on Second Reading just a couple of years ago. I suggest that the confusion is theirs, not ours. We want a ban, but we want it introduced in an orderly fashion and in a reasonable way. I therefore hope that colleagues on both sides of the House will support the motion to bring in a ban on 31 July 2006.