The government has agreed to extend the sessions of the standing committee for an extra week.

The committee will resume its deliberations during the last week of February. It will give MPs their final chance to make amendments before the Bill goes back to the Commons for further consideration.

Pro-hunting MPs have privately expressed their concern that in whichever form it is presented, the government definitely wants a ban on hunting with hounds.

Nicholas Soames, Tory MP for Mid Sussex, is one of the most outspoken advocates of the sport. Dejected over the future of hunting, he says he is “deeply distressed” that the government had refused to listen to any of the arguments from the pro-hunting MPs. It was, he said, determined to pursue its course of action, regardless of the facts.

Gregory Barker, ToryMP for Bexhill and Battle made an urgent plea at the committee’s last meeting when he appealed for reason: “In the interests of the fox, I hope that common sense will prevail.”

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (13 February), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.