Blair piles pressure on MPs

MPS ARE coming under increasing pressure to back a compromise on hunting with dogs, newspaper reports suggest.

The Independent reports that Tony Blair‘s spokesman has emphasised again that the Prime Minister wants a compromise reached on the issue.

“The Prime Minister is interested in compromise,” said the PM‘s official spokesman.
“Assuming that there is suitable amendment, the PM will be voting for a restitution of the ‘Alun Michael Bill‘.
“The PM believes it is right to indicate his support for compromise. He is voting for what he believes in and that is a free vote.”

The paper reports that the PM‘s intervention is a surprise and raises the prospect of parliamentary aides on the government “payroll vote” having to swing behind his lead.

As expected the vote will be held in line with the Party manifesto and resolved by free vote.

The government will not be able to use Party whips to enforce its view on the hunting issue which has to be resolved by Thurs (Nov 18) when the current parliamentary session ends.

The prospect of more MPs supporting a compromise was further enforced by The Guardian newspaper.
“It all depends on whether No 10 is willing to move and use some of its influence,” a Countryside Alliance spokesman told the paper.
The Guardian reports that the alliance has been encouraged by a number of influential Labour MPs giving public support to a compromise Bill.
As well as the PM, the home secretary, David Blunkett, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, will all support a compromise.
Meanwhile anti-hunt MPs led by former sports minister Tony Banks, have vowed to force a ban on Tue (Nov 16), according to The Independent.
Such a ban could be in force by Feb should Commons speaker Michael Martin invoke the Parliament Act.

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