THE HOUSE of Lords is set to make heavy amendments to the Hunting Bill as it reaches the committee stage next week (w/e Oct 29).

“Our basic strategy is to return the Bill to the Commons in a form as close as possible to the original Bill from Alun Michael,” said Lord Donoughue at a press conference on Thursday (October 21).

This means the Bill will be returned to the Commons with comprehensive amendments.

In fact, the amended Bill that will go back to the Commons, will be very similar to the Bill originally introduced by Mr Michael, the rural affairs minister.

It will have the form of a licensing rather than a banning Bill.

“Next week we will produce a compromise. The solution we are looking for is what the Prime Minister himself apparently wants. In effect we are giving him back his original Bill,” said Lord Mancroft (Conservative).

“The Hunting Bill as it stands now is a criminal Bill, rendering certain actions criminal.

“When the Government introduced it, it was a regulatory Bill, and that is what we want to revert to,” Lord Mancroft said.

A spokesperson for the Parliamentary Middle Way Group said that the outcome of the Lords‘ efforts to reach a compromise depended on one man alone, the Prime Minister.

A decision on the issue is predicted to be announced in November.