Friday, September 24, 2004

Can't argue with Foxes

Brighton MP’s double celebration

David Lepper, Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP, is looking forward to a double celebration on Wednesday 15 September- his birthday and the day the Bill to ban fox- hunting is reintroduced in Parliament.

David says: ‘It’s a birthday present I can share with most of my constituents. After seven years, support for a ban on fox-hunting remains the single national issue on which I've been contacted most by constituents.’

David first voted against fox-hunting as a new councillor on Brighton Council in 1980 when Brighton decided to ban hunting on land it owned - including parts of the South Downs - and he has consistently campaigned for a ban since becoming an MP in 1997.

He was on the parliamentary committee dealing with the government's hunting bill in 2001 which failed to get through before the election that year because of lack of co-operation by the House of Lords.

He welcomed the Labour commitment in its 2001 general election manifesto to settle the matter before the next general election.

‘It is sensible that the government is devoting only one day to all the stages of the Bill,’ says David Lepper.

‘There has already been a lot of debate over the past seven years. If the Lords decide to spend more time on it that's up to them, but by bringing the Bill in now it's possible for the Commons to use the Parliament Act to pass it later on even if the Lords vote against it.’

David Lepper says foxes are a pest but hunting with hounds is both the least efficient and cruellest way of controlling their numbers. There is also no evidence that hunting plays a significant role in the rural economy.