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Lord Phillips of Sudbury: We must keep our eye on the ball, which is the introduction of a registration system that is universal, fair and consistent across the board. My fear is that, if the amendments are made, we may encourage the extremists in the other place to believe that it will be sufficient concession on their part to accept the two amendments. They will present it to the world that they have met us halfway. It would not be remotely halfway to accept the two amendments as an alternative to the universal scheme proposed in our main amendments.

Members of the Committee must pay their money and make their choice about where the major risks lie in the negotiating puzzle. For my part, I am persuaded by what the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, and the noble Lord, Lord Richard, said.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: I realise that there is little, if any, time left. We have a registration Bill, and the two amendments are in that context. I might be challenged on that, but I believe it to be the case. We are considering the amendments in that context.

The situation is difficult for me. Wales has 80 per cent less favoured areas and has many of the problems elicited by several speakers, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, and my noble friend Lord Hooson. It is a free vote, and some believe that the amendments will irreparably spoil what they see as a registration Bill. I think that there ought to be some co-operation on the amendments, if they are to go through.

There is a way out. The amendments could be withdrawn, and we could consider the matter again at a later stage. However, that is a matter for those who put the amendments before the Committee tonight.

Lord Willoughby de Broke: I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, and I hope that he is feeling better. I congratulate him because I thought that he made a wonderful defence of fox hunting in general. He was very persuasive and had letters to back up his argument. However, I cannot support his amendment or the amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Jopling.

As the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, said, we must keep our eye on the ball. The amendments would create so many different exceptions. One exception is tied tightly to a national park. As the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, asked, what will happen when the sheep move out of the national park? Presumably, with the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, it would be criminal to hunt the sheep outside the national park, even though 10 yards further along it would be legal.
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I also have great difficulty with the other amendment. Why is it particularly virtuous to hunt on foot all of a sudden? My noble friend Lord Crickhowell made the point that many sheep farmers in Wales depended not just on foot packs but on mounted packs. Some packs hunt one day on foot and another day on horses. It is inconsistent to say that such hunting should be supported just by virtue of being on foot.

What does "traditional" mean, anyway? If the amendment said that all traditional fox hunting should be legal, I would agree with it. That is quite different.

The noble Lord, Lord Sewel, made an interesting point about less-favoured areas. That sort of approach widens both of the amendments making them more attractive generally and would address the issue of the needs of the uplands. But these particular amendments are far too tightly drawn to be supported. Certainly, I will not go through the Lobby in support of them.

Earl Peel: I find myself in a real dilemma over this, certainly as regards the amendment tabled by my noble friends Lord Inglewood and Lord Jopling. That does not apply to the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, for all the reasons that my noble friend Lord Crickhowell spelt out so clearly earlier.

In my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine how such an amendment could ever be considered a practical proposition. I was quietly amused at the noble Lord's words when he said that he wanted to introduce something that the Commons could realistically support. My only conclusion from that is that it just compounds my view that Members of the House of Commons have pretty little idea of what goes on in the countryside. Quite frankly, with the greatest respect to the noble Lord, his amendment is impractical.

Foxes will never respect boundaries of national parks. I am bound to say that those who are responsible for the creation of national parks would be very surprised if they thought that those original designations were going to act as a refuge for the hunts. The only good thing that might come out of it is that it might stop further designations. Other than that, I cannot support the noble Lord at all.

I turn now to the amendment tabled by my noble friends Lord Inglewood and Lord Jopling. Of course, I agree with everything that has been said. I acknowledge wholeheartedly that hunting is the only effective way of controlling foxes that kill lambs and the wading birds, which no one has mentioned, that are so under threat, particularly in the Lake District, from predation. I understand that completely. As noble Lords have said, lamping is a possibility in certain areas. But in the more rugged parts of the Lake District National Park and other upland areas, as my noble friend has said, it is completely impractical.
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I have to listen carefully to what people have said in terms of the fact that we are pursuing a Bill based on registration. The remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Richard, have persuaded me that at this stage it would be a mistake to depart from the principle that we have so steadfastly set ourselves. So it is with deep regret that I say to my noble friend Lord Jopling that on this occasion I do not think that I can support him.

Lord Chorley: I had not intended to take part in this debate at all, partly because I am losing my voice. My home is in the Lake District, where I have spent much of my life. As with a number of other noble Lords, I have great difficulty with interesting Amendment No. 47A tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours. It is totally arbitrary: why not make it areas of outstanding natural beauty? Someone asked about the less-favoured areas. I have great difficulty with that amendment. Perhaps it may be agreeable to Back-Benchers in another place, but I think that the noble Earl, Lord Peel, put his finger on it.

I have much more sympathy for the amendment proposed by my noble friend Lord Inglewood and for the particularly powerful intervention made by the noble Lord, Lord Jopling. My problem with that amendment is simply one of definition. I do not know what an upland area is. I live in the Lake District, but I do not think that I am in an upland. There is an awful lot of the Lake District that is probably not an upland.

I should like to suggest, as have other noble Lords, that the amendment is not pressed to a vote today, but that further thought and tightening up is given to it between now and Report.

Baroness Byford: I hope that noble Lords will reflect on what has been said. There is much sympathy for what they are trying to do. Many suggestions have been made tonight. It would be extremely wise if the noble Lords could be persuaded to listen to what has been said and perhaps come back with further amendments that widen and clarify their proposals. In the light of today's debate, improvements could be made to those amendments. I therefore hope that the noble Lord will not press his amendment.

Lord Whitty: The noble Lord, Lord Jopling, was correct to say that in the discussion on the first amendment to the Bill—only yesterday—I sounded slightly more benign to the amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Campbell-Savours than perhaps to others and by extension therefore to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Jopling.

That of course was at a time when the Bill before us was still a ban. My point about the amendment then was that, if we pursued it, it was at least within the structure of the Bill. In a sense, I am saying the obverse to my noble friend Lord Richard. It was within the structure of the Bill to try to find a deal by means of extending the exemptions with something that was likely at least to require the House of Commons to consider it seriously; whereas, some of those we were
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proposing, as we have now agreed an entirely different Bill, are unlikely to meet the same level of examination or serious consideration.

I still hold that position. It is of course true that either of these amendments could apply to a registration Bill or to a banning Bill. In a sense, that is one of their merits. There are exemptions under the original registration Bill. This could be added to the exemptions. There were also exemptions in the banning Bill that first appeared. This could be added there to protect the particular sections referred to in these two amendments.

Of course there would be problems of definition of the areas designated by my noble friend, and I do not necessarily say that I would support in any context the proposal—even if it was included in the 1987 Labour Party manifesto, for which I had some responsibility. Regrettably, by and large much of that manifesto has not so far been translated into legislation.

The position we are in now is that we have a registration system. One could argue that special considerations should apply to these areas. The Burns report indicated that there may be a stronger case for allowing hunting in such areas than elsewhere. Moreover, it is clear that in some upland areas the proportion of pest control achieved through hunting is higher than in general. Therefore arguments can be put forward for treating those areas in a different way. However, one could also argue that a registration system would deal with those issues, and that it would be the kind of judgment that a tribunal and registrar would have to make.

However, at this point, if we want the House of Commons to consider these amendments, they have to be in the Bill. I therefore do not consider that those who support the drift of these amendments would be sensible in advising the Committee not to put them in the Bill at all. Of course they may need to be tidied up, but they certainly could not be part of any compromise or move on the part of the House of Commons if they are not put to that place. That is not my endorsement of the amendments either in general terms or in terms of the precise formulations before the Committee, but procedurally that is the point that noble Lords either tonight or at a later stage will have to decide.

Noble Lords may not like the amendments since they are aiming for a system of registration. My own view is that some of the decisions taken by the Committee so far have in any case made the possibility of compromise far more remote. I have made my views clear as we work through the Committee stage. But if the Committee considers that special considerations should apply both to fell packs and in upland areas, however defined, then at some point these amendments will have to be added to the Bill that this House sends back to the House of Commons. I make no prediction of how they will be received; I simply point out a matter of procedure and of fact. Noble Lords will have to make up their minds about whether they support the amendments.

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