21 December 2000
Hunting Bill – What the papers say

By FWi staff

JACK STRAWS disclosure that he would vote for regulation rather than the abolition of hunting is seized upon by the newspapers.

The Home Secretary came out in favour of the “middle way” at the outset of the second reading of the Hunting Bill in the Commons on Wednesday (20 December).

By favouring this option to a total ban or self-regulation, he shows the Government is “sounding the retreat” on the issue says The Independent.

The Guardian says Mr Straws disclosure exposes divisions within the Cabinet and will strengthen the hand of those who oppose a ban.

The Times claims Tony Blair has “boxed himself in” by committing himself to a total ban which the public are now viewing as “an unjustifiably illiberal law”.

It calls on MPs, who gave the Bill a second reading in the Commons to come down “on the side of tolerance”.

Around 1500 “rural freedom fighters” brought traffic to a standstill in central London as they staged a demonstration against a possible ban.

Former One Man and His Dog presenter Robin Page was arrested by police after lying down on the road outside the Houses of Parliament, reports the Daily Express.

In an editorial, The Daily Telegraph newspaper warns that the protests “are just a taste of things to come” on 18 March, the date of the Countryside March.

The Express says “there are far more pressing countryside issues – such as the loss of 24,000 agricultural jobs – that demand the attention of the House of Commons.”

After a passionate debate, the Hunting Bill was given a second reading the Commons by 373 votes in favour with 158 against.

  • Labour to force hunt bill through, FWi, 20 December, 2000
  • The Independent 21 December 2000 page 1,8 and Review page 3
  • The Guardian 21 December 2000 page 1 and 10
  • The Times 21 December 2000 page 1, 2, 4 and 17
  • Daily Express 21 December 2000 page 8 and 12
  • The Daily Telegraph 21 December 2000 page 1,2, 8, and 21