Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:30 pm on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Viscount Astor Viscount Astor Shadow Minister, Environment and Transport 12:30 pm, 11th November 2004

My Lords, this House must see these amendments for what they are. They are a clever and, I have to say, somewhat cynical ploy to ban hunting. That is what they represent; it is nothing else.

When the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, introduced the amendment, he said that he knew nothing about hunting. I have to say that that is one issue on which I can agree with him. He has not spoken at any stage of the Bill; neither at Second Reading nor in Committee. So I am afraid that we have to examine his motives in bringing the amendments forward. He is quite right to say that the amendments return the Bill to how it was when it came out of Standing Committee. However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, pointed out, when the Bill came out of Standing Committee, which had a Labour majority of anti-hunt members, it contained, as it were, the wrecking amendment, Amendment A, which would mean that registration would become almost impossible. The work that we did in Committee in this House was directed to making a workable system. All those noble Lords who have spoken so far have agreed with that.

We must be honest about these amendments. They are exactly as the noble Baroness said they are. They are a back-door ban. It is as simple as that.