Hunting Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 13th February 2001.

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[Mr. Edward O'Hara in the Chair]

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Liberal Democrat, Berwick-upon-Tweed 10:30 am, 13th February 2001

On a point of order, Mr. O'Hara, it might help us to know how to use our time on this final day of our deliberations if the Government told us when and how they will respond to the issues concerning the effect of the Bill on stalking and the other matters that they said they were considering. I am sure that it is in your power to allow them to tell us whether they intend to make a statement early in the day so that we know how to proceed.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Further to that point of order, Mr. O'Hara. It would help all Committee members if the Government told us the way forward. Concerns were raised at our previous sitting about the impact of the Bill on deer stalking. During earlier sittings we discussed at length rabbit control, and there was a suggestion from the Labour Benches that amendments might be tabled on that subject.

A further point arises on which clarification would be helpful. In The Times yesterday, Mr. Philip Webster, its political editor, who has good sources of information inside the Government, suggested that they are about to change their view on hunting in favour of licensed hunting. If that is so, it would be helpful to know in advance so that we do not waste our time.

Photo of Edward O'Hara Edward O'Hara Labour, Knowsley South

The hon. Gentleman is departing from the original point of order, but he made his point. I am in the hands of the Committee, but a Minister may wish to comment.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

I shall be circulating a letter to the Committee this morning on deer stalking, which states that we are considering tabling amendments, hopefully on Report. We are considering all the issues that were raised during our sittings last week, but I am not yet in a position to say exactly when the amendments will be tabled.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Liberal Democrat, Berwick-upon-Tweed

I am grateful for the Parliamentary Secretary's comments. I hope that she can ensure that the letter is in the hands of Committee members before we advance too far into this morning's sitting. I am sure that you would also like to see a copy, Mr. O'Hara, because it may affect how we discuss the amendments before us.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

The envelopes are ready, and as soon as photocopies can be made of the document, they will be circulated. Schedule 3 Hunting with Dogs: Prohibition