17 January 2001
MPs vote to ban hunting with hounds
by FWi staff
MPs have voted by a majority of 387 to 174 in support of an outright ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales following a five hour debate.
They were given a free vote on three options regarding the future of hunting in the House of Commons late on Wednesday (17 January).
Allowing hunts to self-regulate their activities was supported by 155 MPs with 399 against. A new licensing system was supported by 182 votes to 382.
In the end, the MPs chose a total ban on hunting with hounds. Agriculture minister Nick Brown is understood to have voted in favour of the outright ban.
Tony Blair did not vote despite favouring an outright ban. Instead, the Prime Minister travelled to Belfast in a bid to revive the Northern Ireland peace process.
That engagement means that Mr Blair has never voted to ban hunting in the three votes on the future of hunting since Labour came to power in 1997.
Fomer agriculture minister Douglas Hogg told MPs: “There are many activities that we may feel are distasteful or wrong but we wouldnt want to outlaw them.”
Despite the vote, it could be 2002 until hunting is banned. The bill faces a hostile passage through the House of Lords before it can become law.
The Countryside Alliance has e-mailed its grassroots member asking them to vote urgently in votes polls on hunting by five news organisations.