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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Hint at hunting ban by Christmas
Are hunts' days numbered?
Commons leader Peter Hain has hinted that the government will move to ban fox hunting by Christmas.

During the last business questions before the recess he was repeatedly asked about the issue which many MPs feel is still unfinished business.

Labour's David Winnick said a ban would be a "splendid present" to opponents of hunting with dogs.

Mr Hain said: "When I was a boy I always looked forward to Christmas... for splendid presents."

Parliament acts?

He said Mr Winnick should "bear that in mind".

The size of Labour's majority means a Bill banning foxhunting could get through the Commons speedily.

If peers then block the move again the government could invoke its powers under the Parliament Acts to force a ban through.

Mr Hain was also urged to announce the government's plans for a ban by Tory MP Sir Teddy Taylor and Labour's Dennis Skinner.

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