THE COMMONS‘ determination to use the Parliament Act to ban hunting with dogs has been covered extensively by the national newspapers.
After the Lords again rejected the hunting bill, this time with a majority of 155 votes to 119, the papers predict that Michael Martin, the Commons speaker, will invoke the Parliament Act.
Use of the Act to force through a Commons‘ decision is rare – if invoked it will be only the fourth time since the end of the second world war.
The process will allow the Bill to bypass the Lords and progress directly to the Queen for Royal Assent.
It is widely seen as a heavy-handed approach which the Daily Telegraph describes as the ‘nuclear option of the lower house‘.
The Financial Times reports that the final rejection by the Lords is a deliberate attempt to cause maximum trouble for Labour ahead of the general election, expected in the spring 2005.
Tim Yeo, shadow DEFRA, told BBC Radio 4‘s The World at One that Labour “was rightly fearful of a backlash in many parts of the country against this infringement of civil liberties”.
John Jackson, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, told the paper that the government should be well aware of the growing anger in the countryside and there would be passive non-co-operation from the rural community.
“True civil disobedience is now on the horizon,” Mr Jackson warned.