of Commons Speaker Michael Martin has invoked the Parliament Act -
meaning a ban on fox hunting will be in place by February 2005.
He told MPs the Act was being used for only the fourth time since
1949 - a move sparked by peers who earlier rejected a ban on hunting
bill was then given Royal Assent, bringing to an end years of wrangling.
action and demonstrations are now predicted in the run up to the
general election, widely expected next May.
Martin told MPs: "I am satisfied all the provisions of the
Parliament Act have been met."
well as fox hunting, deer-hunting and hare-coursing with dogs will
now be outlawed in England and Wales.
Hunt supporters condemn ban
supporters in Devon immediately condemned the move.
pro hunting sign
the morning of the ban (Thursday, 18th November) hunts met at the
East Dart Hotel at Postbridge, where all four Dartmoor hunts meet.
Members of the South Devon hunt labelled the ban "ridiculous"
and accused the Government of prejudice.
And one member vowed: "We'll still carry on - if I get locked
up, I get locked up."
Guy Morlock, of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said they
will be challenging the ban: "Parliament hasn't listened. The
House of Commons hasn't listened. It's going to be tested to its
Alex Warne, of the East Dart Hotel, said the ban will hit his business:
"I'm not surprised about what's happened. I'm disgusted. It
shows a total disregard for the countryside."
But the League Against Cruel Sports in the South West said the ban
was long overdue. Peter Anderson, from LACS, said: "We are
obviously delighted. It's taken far too long, but at long last we've
achieved a ban on hunting."
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has called on hunt followers to
accept the law and to behave "reasonably and sensibly."
He said: "There are people who feel passionately that hunting
is integral to their way of life. There are people who feel equally
passionately that it is barbaric and cruel."
Conservative shadow environment minister James Gray condemned the
proposals as a "rank bad bill", which would be impossible
Ban is "a watershed"
RSPCA director of animal welfare, John Rolls, said the bill was
a "watershed in the development of a more civilised society
for people and animals".
Campbell-McRae, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare,
said: "Banning hunting will put Britain back at the forefront
of animal welfare worldwide.
has been a long, hard campaign, won by the determination of tens
of thousands of people in urban and rural communities who are dedicated
to protecting animals from senseless and appalling cruelty."
Countryside Alliance has already written to Attorney General Lord
Goldsmith saying it will challenge the legality of the 1949 Parliament
Act in the High Court as soon as a ban gains royal assent.
alliance is also planning to take the issue to the European Court
of Human Rights. Alliance
chief executive, Simon Hart, said its lawyers believed it had a
could also stop cooperating with the government, he told BBC News.
he warned anti-hunt MPs with majorities of less than 5,000 they
would face a determined campaign at the next election.
Article written: 18th November.