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Last night the House of Lords voted by a majority of 212 to allow hunting to continue under licence.

After a heated debate which included an in-depth discussion of the term ‘intentional’ and impassioned arguments between Environment Minister Lord Whitty and the opposition, amendments proposed by Baroness Mallalieu were voted through.

The discussion in the Lords is set to recommence next Wednesday, and is fully expected to continue in the same vein, as peers seek to conclude the Bill’s Committee Stage.

Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League of Cruel Sports, said the amendments would allow hunts to continue if they passed only two “self-imposed” tests, and that any hope of a compromise was now “stone dead”.

Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said last night: “The vote shows that the Hunting Bill, in the form it left the Commons, is almost unique in having no respect from any quarter of the House of Lords. Opposition to the Bill is overwhelming and cross party.”

If the Bill makes it back to the Commons before the Queen’s Speech in November, these amendments are likely to be overthrown, and if it does not, it will be up to the Government to decide whether to use the Parliament Act in the next session to force through a total ban.