Parliament Act invoked to ban hunting from next February
By Andrew Woodcock, PA Political Correspondent
Fox-hunting with hounds is to be banned in England and Wales from February 2005 after the Parliament Act was invoked this evening to force the Hunting Bill through against the opposition of the House of Lords.
Speaker Michael Martin told the House of Commons that the Act was being applied for only the fourth time since 1949 (three times under the current Labour Government - The Muslim News) in order to send the Bill for Royal Assent.
The passage of the fiercely-contested legislation is expected to trigger demonstrations and legal action from supporters of hunting, who plan to challenge the Bill on human rights grounds and question the legitimacy of the Parliament Act itself.
Peers maintained their stubborn resistence to a ban until the last moment this evening, voting by 153-114 to retain regulated hunting.
Their vote struck out a compromise offered by MPs, who voted earlier today to delay the implementation of the ban until the end of July 2006.
Fox-hunting – along with deer-hunting and hare-coursing with dogs – will now be banned three months after the Bill receives Royal Assent, probably tonight.
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