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Earl Ferrers: My Lords, would the noble Lord be good enough to address the House? He has his back turned to half of us.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I apologise; I shall address the noble Earl himself as my focus of attention for the rest of my speech, which I am happy to say will not be much longer.

There is very strong opinion in another place against adopting a registration system. At the moment, I cannot see that view being changed. Nevertheless, I underline the points of my noble friend Lord Carter. The chances of any change would be immeasurably diminished were this House to decide once again to take the more confrontational of the options before it. That is the choice before noble Lords today; it is a choice that I leave to them. It is a free vote for me as well as for all of us, but it is a very serious judgment that we all have to make.

Baroness Byford: My Lords, will the Minister clarify his words? He suggested that the blame lies with your Lordships, which is unsatisfactory. The Government have spoken about some form of compromise. Over the past three days, and at Second Reading, we have been given no indication of where any sort of compromise could be reached at all. To blame your Lordships' House is a disgrace.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Baroness has not listened to me. I have said throughout the debate that the House has to recognise that the people whom they have to convince of an alternative proposition are not me, the Government or the Prime Minister, but the majority of the House of Commons. The ball is therefore in this House's court to come up with a compromise. I have also said, at every stage from 2001 onwards on this matter, that the choice of this House to take the more confrontational rather than the less confrontational option has greatly aggravated and increased the degree of confrontation and resistance in the House of Commons. Frankly, that is a fact. The noble Baroness may not wish to share the blame, but at least some of the blame rests with the attitude taken by the pro-hunters in this House.

Lord Tunnicliffe: My Lords, I shall be brief.
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Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Tunnicliffe: My Lords, it is good to have support.

In the final analysis, one cannot affirm truths, but only what one believes to be true. I genuinely believe that the Bill, as amended by my amendments, is not a ban, but a restraint. It is an evidence-driven restraint; it is not an impossible test. I genuinely believe that it is the best compromise available. A conciliator runs the risk of being equally rejected or embraced. I wish to test the opinion of the House to find out which.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 39; Not-Contents, 189.

Division No. 1


Acton, L.
Alderdice, L.
Avebury, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Drayson, L.
Dykes, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Goodhart, L.
Grantchester, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Jordan, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B. [Teller]
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Neuberger, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Roper, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sandberg, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Thornton, B.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wright of Richmond, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Arran, E.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Ballyedmond, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Bell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boothroyd, B.
Bowness, L.
Bragg, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cameron of Dillington, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chorley, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Colwyn, L.
Condon, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L. [Teller]
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Donoughue, L.
D'Souza, B.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elder, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Filkin, L.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gavron, L.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Golding, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greenway, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hanham, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Henley, L.
Heseltine, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hylton, L.
Inge, L.
Inglewood, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mancroft, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L. [Teller]
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Norfolk, D.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peel, E.
Peterborough, Bp.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Rea, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Renton, L.
Richard, L.
Rogan, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sewel, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheldon, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thatcher, B.
Tombs, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walpole, L.
Warnock, B.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

11 Nov 2004 : Column 1044

11 Nov 2004 : Column 1045
1.18 p.m.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 2:

(1) Section 1(a) only applies to hunting in less-favoured areas.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), less-favoured areas are as defined in Articles 17 to 21 of Council Regulation (EC) 1257/1999 and Articles 3(4) and (5) of Council Directive 75/268/EEC, as adopted in Council Directive 84/169/ECC."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am almost repeating what has been said earlier, in that I am trying to search for that elusive compromise that I believe many Members of your Lordships' House are genuinely seeking. I fully acknowledge that that is likely to be a compromise where neither of the two main sides in this debate will feel satisfied. That is the essence of negotiation and compromise—inevitably there is an element of dissatisfaction, but in this case that is worth enduring if we can achieve something that may prevail in the long term.

The alternative, which is unattractive, is for this issue to be determined by a straightforward clash between what I believe are inevitably seen as absolutes. I am uncomfortable with a clash of absolutes in determining political arguments where they can be avoided. I am also uncomfortable when our two Houses are so far apart on matters of principle on an issue which, although I sincerely recognise involves beliefs that are deeply held on both sides of the argument, is not a matter of major public policy. So there is pressure on us to try to see whether we can reach some other solution.

Perhaps I may say something about the way that the debate has evolved and the rhetoric that has been used. Two themes have emerged in Committee and now on Report—a reference to compromise and the desire to seek it on the one hand and a reference to principle on the other. That is one of the difficulties regarding this matter, because principle and its constant repetition can sometimes be the enemy of compromise. So I willingly accept that my amendment contains a move away from a nice, coherent position of principle. That is a sacrifice that I believe is necessary to reach compromise and agreement.

Briefly, the purpose of the amendment is to establish a framework for hunting that has two main components. One is that hunting, where it exists, should be registered and regulated; the second is that hunting should be limited to the less favoured areas, which, in essence, are the upland areas. It is expressed in terms of the "less favoured areas" because that is a well known, clear, geographical and spatial definition but, effectively, it means that hunting would be limited purely and solely to the upland areas of England and Wales.

I turn to the reasons for the amendment. The Bill as it stands, with its framework of regulation and control, is right. I think that it is the right framework and I do not seek to disturb it. But with regard to the areas and geographical constraints, basically I believe that the argument for the continuation of hunting is greatest in the upland areas of Britain and I hope that that is widely recognised. I think that it is greatest in those
11 Nov 2004 : Column 1046
areas because it is the better way to achieve effective pest control and wildlife management in those areas. The impact of hunting on the local economy is greatest in those areas and, in the broadest sense, the social impact and contribution of hunting and everything that goes with it is also more marked in those areas. Therefore, I think it is right to put hard principle to one side and to focus on where the effect is greatest. That is essentially the basis of my argument.

I have sought to move the argument away from a clash between two absolute positions: one where the continuation of hunting is seen as the continuation of something particularly and peculiarly cruel; and one where a significant curtailment of hunting is seen as a major threat to a free society. I am not attracted by either position. I think that there is a way forward that is not based on absolutes or on one side losing and one side winning. It is incumbent on us to try to come up with something that is workable, that is above all reasonable, and that will show the value of the deliberative and revising functions of this House. I beg to move.

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