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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Groups react to hunting vote
Hounds
A government amendment to licence hunts was not voted on
Pro- and anti-hunt campaigners from the South West are digesting the news that MPs have voted for a total ban on fox hunting.

The result came after five hours of stormy debate on Monday night.

A compromise plan to allow some fox hunting to continue under licence was never put to a vote.

However, hunt supporters have brought the centre of Penzance to a halt during a street march and say they are determined to fight on.

We have to wonder whether hunting has been made the sacrificial lamb to appease the backbenchers
Geoff Mannell,
Countryside Alliance
With a huge majority of 208, MPs backed a backbench amendment to the controversial Hunting Bill by 362 to 154 to completely ban the sport.

The vote means legislation must now be redrafted, and there is a risk the delay could prevent it getting through the House of Lords during this session of the legislature.

Local MPs who voted for a ban included: Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton), Candy Atherton (Falmouth and Camborne), Andrew George (St Ives) and Adrian Sanders (Torbay).

Those who voted against a ban included: Colin Breed (Cornwall South East), Matthew Taylor (Truro & St Austell), Angela Browning (Tiverton and Honiton), Gary Streeter (South West Devon), John Burnett (West Devon and Torridge), Nick Harvey (North Devon), Richard Younger Ross (Teignbridge).

East Devon's Hugo Swire was a teller for the No vote.

Geoff Mannell, spokesman for the Countryside Alliance in Cornwall, said of the result: "We have to wonder whether hunting has been made the sacrificial lamb to appease the backbenchers."

A giant paper mache fox is driven past Big Ben by the anti-hunting lobby
Anti-hunt protesters had called for an outright ban
However, he added: "There's still all to play for, as I see it. We are convinced in the strength of our argument, particularly in regard to animal welfare.

"There is no need to ban hunting where land owners think it is the most effective way of dealing with foxes."

East Devon MP Hugo Swire said the whole nature of the bill has changed and is filled with procedural problems.

He said: "The whole thing is now on hold it will have to back to committee and it's shot a hole through the government legislative programme on hunting."

St Ives MP and Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman Andrew George says a lot of work is still needed, but that it was necessary.

He said: "I'd far rather have a bill that we can enforce.

"We should have an act by the end of the year."

But Peter Anderson, from the League Against Cruel Sports in the South West, said the government needed to make sure the bill was not held up any further.

He said: "The league is very pleased and this shows the majority of back benchers are in step with the public opinion over hunting.

"It's important that we get the legislation right and that it reflects public opinion on this issue, which is completely behind a total ban of all hunting."

"In reality, there's no reason to delay on this issue, and if there is any delay we'll know that the government is to blame.

"We're confident the government will realise the strength of feeling on this issue and that humane alternatives to hunting exist."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Lucy Atherton
"After five and a half hours of stormy debate, the vote was overwhelming"



SEE ALSO:
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30 Jun 03  |  Politics
Pro-hunt women hold protest vigil
30 Jun 03  |  England
Hunting: How did your MP vote?
30 Jun 03  |  Politics
Analysis: Blair concedes defeat
30 Jun 03  |  Politics
Do you support a fox hunting ban?
30 Jun 03  |  Have Your Say
Question mark over hunting bill
08 May 03  |  Politics
Hunting compromise outlined
03 Dec 02  |  Politics


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