53 Schedule 2, page 10, line 25, after "is" insert "registered or"
53A The Commons disagree to this amendment for the following reason—
Because it is consequential on Amendments Nos. 1 to 10 to which the Commons have disagreed.
54 In the Title, line 1, after "prohibit" insert "unregistered"
54A The Commons disagree to this amendment for the following reason—Because it is consequential on Amendments Nos. 1 to 10 to which the Commons have disagreed.
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 53 and 54, to which the Commons have disagreed for their reasons numbered 53A and 54A. I spoke to the amendments with Amendment No. 1.
Moved, That the House do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 53 and 54, to which the Commons have disagreed for their reasons numbered 53A and 54A.—(Lord Whitty.)
rose to move that the House do agree with the Commons suggested amendment:
Clause 15, Leave out Clause 15 and insert the following new Clause— ,
(1) The following provisions of this Act shall come into force on 31st July 2006—
(a) section 1 to 4,
(b) Part 2 in so far as it relates to sections 1 to 4,
(c) sections 11 to 14 in so far as they relate to sections 1 to 4,
(d) Schedule 1, and
(e) Schedule 2 and 3, except in so far as they change the law in relation to an activity to which section 5 applies.
(2) The following provisions of this Act shall come into force at the end of the period of three months beginning with the date on which it is passed—
(a) section 5,
(b) Part 2 in so far as it relates to section 5,
(c) sections 11 to 13 in so far as they relate to section 5, and
(d) Schedules 2 and 3 in so far as they change the law in relation to an activity to which section 5 applies."
My Lords, we have covered much of the ground relating to this matter. The suggested amendment would defer commencement of the ban on hunting with dogs but not the ban on hare coursing until
I think we know where we are. We have just completed the proceedings on a Bill which your Lordships are sending back to the Commons for reconsideration, but it is also the second insistence on the Lords' position. We therefore know that it is likely that the Commons will not accept that Bill and that the Parliament Act will come into play. That would mean that the date of commencement of a banning Bill would be in February next year.
The Commons propose that there should be a delay in the implementation of the Bill until July 2006. It has a number of merits. First, it will allow some degree of adjustment. Secondly, it will allow the welfare and other arrangements to be made. Thirdly, it will allow the democratic will of the people to be declared when it is quite clear that an alternative government would be committed to repealing this likely Bill.
For those reasons, I think that the House should support the suggested amendment, recognising that it is a contingency arrangement and that the Bill that goes back for now to the Commons has a 2007 commencement date. I beg to move.
Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons suggested amendment.—(Lord Whitty.)
My Lords, we have been through the Bill and completed the amendments to it. The suggested amendment by the Commons relates to a Bill structured in the form in which it came to this House—namely, in the form of a ban. Noble Lords chose not to deal with the Bill in the form of a ban, even by the increase in the number of exemptions, which was a possibility. So we are faced with the possibility of the Commons insisting on a Bill with a ban and of the Parliament Act being implemented—in that sense, it is a contingency amendment. The amendment relates to that Bill rather than the one that we are sending back to the Commons.
In earlier debates I said that it would have been a better date for our registration Bill also but we have taken a decision on that. Having dealt with the Bill itself, we are now dealing with the possibility of the banning Bill coming into effect, if we do not agree this Motion, in only three months' time. The choice before the House is whether it wants hunting in the form that it has tried to defend to finish in three months' time or in July 2006.
My Lords, the Minister has made what he regards as a very simple statement. Have the Government taken legal advice on human rights, the Parliament Act and compensation aspects of an 18-month delay, which he has asked us to accept? The noble Lord has conducted himself extremely well during this Bill; I appreciate that very much. However, the House would like to know what has been the legal advice in the circumstances? Is there a difference between three months and 18 months in respect of the three issues that I have raised?
My Lords, we have debated previously the issue of human rights in relation particularly to compensation. It is our judgment that the commencement date makes no difference to that advice. The validity of the Parliament Act is not a matter that relates to this Bill, therefore I shall not comment on it. If necessary, it will be decided in the courts.
My Lords, in Committee I raised an issue to which I have not had a reply. Section 2(3) of the Parliament Act 1911 implies that a Bill must have completed all stages in this House, or have been positively rejected. It would be very unwise for the noble Lord's party to start a system whereby a Bill can "time out" in this House. When they are in Opposition, if this procedure becomes normal, they will find it very difficult to oppose. The Parliament Act should not be used in this case.
My Lords, I wish to speak briefly against my noble friend's Motion. The reasons for the delay that he proposes are the political expediency of avoiding the issue in the general election and the hope of avoiding the human rights implications. The reasons for the longer delay, which has been agreed by this House, were set out by the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft. I, too, set them out when moving a similar amendment at the previous stage. Basically, they were reasons of animal welfare, which ought to be the primary consideration of this House, rather than political expediency. Therefore, I oppose the Motion.