HC Deb 07 December 1972 vol 847 cc1654-5
10. Mr. William Price

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now introduce legislation to ban fox hunting.

31. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to ban all cruel sports, such as fox hunting, stag hunting and hare coursing.

Mr. Lane

No, Sir.

Mr. Price

Will the Minister have a word with his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and ask him—when he is next across at Buckingham Palace—whether he will explain to Princess Anne that the vast majority of our people are violently opposed to blood sports and are appalled at her determination to bestow Royal patronage upon acts of blatant cruelty? Will the hon. Gentleman also ask his right hon. Friend to explain to Princess Anne that some of us are concerned about the company she is keeping, and that the time has come when she really ought to see a little less of masters of fox hunts and a little more of the lads on the shop floor?

Mr. Lane

A lot of what the hon. Gentleman has said is not particularly helpful in this difficult matter, on which varying views are held, inside and outside the House. The original Question was about legislation. The Government have a very full programme of excellent legislation, in which such a Bill does not feature, but it is open to any private Member to put one forward, if and when he wishes.

Mr. Lipton

Will the Minister bear in mind that the Prime Minister and the majority of the Cabinet do not indulge in blood sports? Would it not be a good thing if others in high places who enjoy a comfortable living at the taxpayers' expense followed the good example of the Prime Minister and many of his Cabinet colleagues?

Mr. Lane

This is entirely a matter of individual judgment. I do not propose to follow the hon. Member any further down the road that he is suggesting this afternoon.

Sir D. Renton

Is my hon. Friend aware that the late Mr. Tom Williams, when Labour Minister of Agriculture, said in the House that a plea to abolish fox hunting was no more than a plea to nationalise it?

Mr. Lane

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for reminding hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House of some things that have been said in the past.

Mr. Paget

Is the hon. Gentleman—[An HON. MEMBER: "Tally ho!"] Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in a recent television programme the Secretary—I think—for the League Against Cruel Sports expressed himself as being in favour of pursuing a fox with dogs so long as it had been previously crippled? Is he further aware that Princess Anne's mother, grandmother and grandfather were keen followers of the Pytchley Hunt, and that in my urban constituency of Northampton at the last election I had 380 members of the Labour Party and over 2,000 members of the Pytchley Hunt Supporters Club?

Mr. Lane

This is difficult country. I am very grateful to the hon. and learned Member for reminding the House both of the television programme and of his experience at the last General Election.

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