12 January 2001
Blair to vote to ban hunting

By FWi staff

TONY Blair is to vote for a total ban on hunting with dogs next week, breaking ranks with his Home Secretary, reports The Times.

Downing Street announced that the Prime Minister intended to fulfil his longstanding pledge.

This ended speculation that he might join Jack Straw and vote for a middle way through the introduction of a statutory regulatory body.

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, the House of Lords could well favour a different option, setting the two on a collision course.

Meanwhile, MI5 has been drafted in to track down animal rights extremists after a series of attacks, reports The Daily Telegraph.

On Thursday (11January) a nail-filled letter bomb exploded in a fish and chip shop in Holywell, North Wales.

Six devices have been sent to people with links to pest control, farming and hunting in the past fortnight.