‘Middle Way’ hopes are dashed as the House of Commons vote for outright ban

The House of Commons’ vote on the future of hunting in England and Wales saw an overwhelming majority favour an outright ban on the sport.

MPs voted by 386 to 175 in favour of a ban – a majority of 211, only two votes less than the last time the issue was voted on in Parliament.

Hopes that MPs would support the “middle way” option to avoid a time-consuming battle between the two houses were dealt a severe blow as results showed this alternative was less popular than in the previous vote in January 2001.

The Countryside Alliance said it was “disappointed, but notsurprised” by the House of Commons vote.

Director of the campaign for hunting, Simon Hart, says: “The Commons voting pattern was almost identical to the last time, despite the electorate no longer being in favour of a ban.

“Insteadof concentrating on ‘bread and butter’ issues, such as the mobilisation of troops to Afghanistan and the disastrous performance of the railways, MPs are debating hunting, which proves they are out of step with the countryside, their constituents and public opinion,” continues Simon.

“It is ironic that a year after foot and mouth began to devastate rural Britain, the only thing that some MPs are interested in doing for the countryside is to vote even more rural people out of their jobs.”

The House of Lords will now have the chance to cast their vote. However, even if they concede some ground by voting for the middle way, some MPs fear that the Commons vote was so decisive that it is unlikely that hunting will continue other than in limited circumstances as a form of pest control.

  • Country sports supporters demonstrated their support for hunting by staging a peaceful sit-down protest outside Westminster yesterday. Around 500 supporters occupied theroad for one hour staring at 2pm.

    Countryside Action Network spokesman, Janet George said: “This was an indicative protest! Hunt supporters are sick and tired of being used as a political football. Jobs, homes, and a whole way of life is under threat and the Government should be in no doubt about our readiness to fight for our freedom.”

    Read more about the hunting bill: