9 January 2001
Alliance plans Parliament hunt vigil

By FWi staff

CAMPAIGNERS against a bill to ban hunting with dogs plan to hold a vigil in Parliament Square while MPs debate the issue.

Up to 20 Countryside Alliance supporters will set up camp from 11am on Monday (15 January) until MPs vote on the Hunting Bill later that week.

Protesters will come from marginal constituencies to reinforce the Alliances message that the Bill is not popular with voters and could cost MPs their seats.

A spokesman for the Alliance said: “People say they elect MPs to deal with issues like fuel prices and the National Health Service, not to ban hunting.

“Banning hunting will not win many votes for MPs, as meddling with rights and freedoms by imposing bans is not seen as an attractive trait by the public.”

Organisers plan for top London restaurants to provide food and drink for supporters, who will stay in a tent and cook on a barbecue.

The Alliance hopes to emulate the success of a Parliament Square vigil by members of the National Pig Association last year.

Pig farmers achieved widespread publicity for the plight of their industry and their mascot, Winnie the Pig, became a national celebrity.

The Hunting Bill asks MPs to choose from three options; they can ban hunting outright, introduce a statutory regulatory body or allow self-regulation.

Due to its unusual structure, the bill will be considered in a committee of the whole House in the main chamber next week.

MPs will debate and vote on which option to take to the next stage. It is expected they will vote for a ban.

However, when the House of Lords debates the Bill, it will be given the same choice and could select a different option.

Should that occur, some compromise will have to be sought.