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Lord Whitty: My Lords, I do not wish to respond to all the points in the noble Lord's speech, because we have been over that ground rather too frequently in

17 Nov 2004 : Column 1587

recent weeks. We are still trying to convince the House of Commons to modify its stance or operate on the basis of some degree of understanding of the position taken by this House. It does not seem sensible that we should try to delay by three years the implementation of whatever Bill eventually emerges, whether it is a registration Bill or a ban Bill, to use the shorthand.

We know the position that the House of Commons has already taken on the matter. It has suggested an amendment to us that would delay implementation until July 2006. I propose to move that amendment after the completion of the amendments to the Bill. It would do one or two different things. It would allow some time for adjustment, so it would allow some of the welfare problems to be addressed. It would also allow the people of the United Kingdom to decide whether they approved of the Bill, as the Conservative Party has made it clear that it would repeal the Bill after a general election. The amendment would take the implementation of the Bill beyond a general election.

The noble Lord referred to that as cynical political manoeuvring, but it is nothing of the sort. It is responding, in part at least, to the accusations made by the noble Lord and his colleagues about the Government and the majority of the House of Commons that we are acting undemocratically. It will allow no action on the Bill until a general election has either endorsed or not endorsed the Government and House of Commons that proposed it.

I do not believe that 2007 is a sensible date, and I did not believe so last week. There has been some improvement in the technicalities of the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, but I do not believe that the House should accept that date. I shall propose an alternative date in a moment.

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, is the noble Lord saying that if the amendment is passed he will still propose an amendment suggesting an alternative date? How can two alternative dates be proposed in one Bill?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Viscount is being disingenuously logical. We know very well where we are. There are in fact two Bills in play here. The amendment was part of the package—it would be slightly amended by the noble Lord's current amendment—for a registration Bill. We also know that the House of Commons has insisted, and is likely to insist again, on a Bill which is primarily a ban with a number of exemptions. The timetable proposed by the House of Commons ought to apply to either Bill. Therefore, if the package of amendments on which we have just voted prevails, it is probable that the 2007 date that is attached to it prevails. However, the alternative position, which the Commons amendment addresses, would provide a delay in the banning Bill. Therefore, I propose to move it, when we have completed all the amendments presented to us by your Lordships tonight.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, I support what the Minister has said logically and clearly. It

17 Nov 2004 : Column 1588

provides me with the opportunity to express my admiration for the manner in which the Minister has conducted himself not only today but at all stages of the Bill.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, he has had to show tremendous patience and understanding. At all times, when his integrity with regard to the Bill has been questioned, he has stood firm. He made his position clear at the outset and on other occasions. He is entitled to the thanks of the whole House.

Lord Mancroft: My Lords, I listened to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Graham, with great interest, and I listened, too, to the words of the Minister. He spoke about time for adjustment, which is precisely what I am proposing.

The concept that a minority spread as thinly as butter across the country, such as the hunting community, can impact significantly on a general election is a twisted view of the democratic process. I suspect that that is part of the reason why we face the problems that we face today.

There is no point in rehearsing the arguments; your Lordships know them well enough. I commend the amendment to the House.

8.28 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 46B) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 176; Not-Contents, 85.

Division No. 4

CONTENTS

Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Bell, L.
Best, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Bramall, L.
Brennan, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Cameron of Dillington, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chester, Bp.
Chorley, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crawford and Balcarres, E.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donoughue, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dykes, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goschen, V.
Greenway, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayman, B.
Henley, L.
Heseltine, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Inglewood, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jopling, L.
Kalms, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mancroft, L. [Teller]
Mar, C.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Moran, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Norfolk, D.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peterborough, Bp.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rooker, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Waldegrave of North Hill, L.
Warnock, B.
Wilcox, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L. [Teller]
Windlesham, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Alderdice, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Brett, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chandos, V.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. [Teller]
Fookes, B.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Giddens, L.
Gilbert, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller]
Grantchester, L.
Greaves, L.
Greengross, B.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Laird, L.
Leitch, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
McNally, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Newby, L.
Northover, B.
Pendry, L.
Prosser, B.
Rennard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rosser, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Snape, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Worcester, Bp.
Young of Norwood Green, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

17 Nov 2004 : Column 1590

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

8.38 p.m.


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