The date of the Committee stage of the hunting bill has been changed by House of Commons officials from Tuesday 16 January to the following day in a move that hunt supporters suspect is a tactic to deflect any concerted, organised effort by them to protest.

The Commons are set to vote on one of three options:

  • To allow hunting with dogs to continue with voluntary regulations

  • hunting to be licensed and regulated by a new independent authority

  • a complete ban

    The Countryside Alliance has organised a vigil to take place outside Downing Street from 11am on Monday (15 January) until the Bill has gone through Parliament.

    A CA spokesman said that the change was in fact beneficial to their cause: “This move has not affected us in the least. In fact, now we have an extra 24 hours – the longer we are there, the longer we have to get our point across.”

    Labour peer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg has sent a copy of a video outlining the harsh realities of rural life in Cumbria to all members of the House of Commons.

    It is accompanied by a personal letter urging them to watch the video and become more informed about how a ban on hunting would affect rural communities.

    Lord Bragg said: “In Cumbria where I live, the right to use dogs to control pest foxes efficiently and humanely can make the difference between survival and financial failure for hill farmers.”

    CA President Baroness Mallalieu has sent the same video to fellow peers in the House of Lords.

    A Downing Street spokesman has confirmed that the Prime Minister will vote for a complete ban “if he is at Westminster for the hunting bill next week”.