HC Deb 10 July 1996 vol 281 cc486-8

Amendments made: No. 7, in page 17, leave out lines 27 to 29.

No. 8, in page 18, line 13, leave out 'in subsection (3), the words "the carcases of," and'.—[Mr. Raymond S. Robertson.]

Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Raymond S. Robertson.]

8.28 pm
Mrs. Ray Michie

I welcome the Bill's Third Reading. It has been a long time in the making.

I hope that the Secretary of State will choose the members of the Deer Commission for Scotland wisely. I hope also that they will co-operate and support the chairman, Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, who has worked so hard. We know that the new commission has an important part to play. My right hon. and hon. Friends will support the Bill's Third Reading.

8.29 pm
Ms Roseanna Cunningham

I shall be brief; I understand that another subject is coming up that appears to be distracting many hon. Members.

There is a real issue at stake and it is not just about killing Bambi. The stag at bay is a great concept and tourist attraction in Scotland, but behind that superficially dramatic sight lies a sorrier tale of serious environmental problems because of the deer population and the consequential detrimental effect on the economy. That has all been for the short-term advantage of those trying to attract game hunters.

The extensive culling of deer is essential, and in that regard the history of the past 30 years has been an object lesson in sustainability being the basis of all initial decisions.

8.30 pm
Mr. McFall

I shall be brief.

The Scottish National party could have made its case in Committee if it wished, but its Members always jump into Committee, sit for two minutes to get their press and then walk out. "Hard work" is not a phrase that is in their vocabulary.

I wish the Bill success. Its purpose is the sensible management of deer in Scotland. Five years of hard negotiations went into the Bill, involving many interest groups. Not everyone got what they wished. That is why a number of groups in the highlands and islands are very bitter about the Government's acceptance of the amendments in the House of Lords.

I should like to correct the Minister's statement about the chairman of the Red Deer Commission, Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington. I spoke to him, and he was not sympathetic to the Government's proposals. He tries as best he can to work with all interests in the highlands and islands and elsewhere. The Labour party is firmly behind him on that issue.

I remind hon. Members that the amendment was moved by Lord Pearson of Rannoch in the debate in the other place on 4 December 1995. He suggested that Scotland appears to be an uncertain place politically at the moment. He said that we must reluctantly consider what a Secretary of State sympathetic to the wilder elements could do with the Bill.

Scotland is not an uncertain place at the moment. The Conservative party is down to single figures in the opinion polls. There will certainly be a Labour Government, and we shall take a consensual approach. The Labour party will consider the wider elements and ensure that the legislation is progressive and sensible. I wish the Bill well.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with amendments.