Tally vote! A timeline of the Hunting Act

PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:54 11 May 2017

The West Norfolk Foxhounds' BOxing Day meet at Raynham Hall, near Fakenham. Picture: Chris Bishop

The West Norfolk Foxhounds' BOxing Day meet at Raynham Hall, near Fakenham. Picture: Chris Bishop


Hunting has divided politicians since 1949, when the first two attempts to ban it were defeated in Parliament. Here are some of the highlights of what’s happened since:

1970 - Bill to ban hare cousing defeated.

1992 - 1995 Three bills to ban hunting defeated.

1997 - Labour wins the election. Manifesto pledges free vote on hunting ban. MP Michael Foster launches private member’s bill.

March, 1998 - Some 250,000 hunt supporters rally in London to protest. Two weeks later, the Foster bill runs out of Parliamentary time.

July, 1999 - Prime Minister Tony Blair pledges to make hunting illegal before the next election. He denies this is anything to do with donations to the party by an animal welfare lobby.

October, 1999 - Blair insists he can deliver despite calls to await the reorganisation of the House of Lords. The following month, the government says it will back a backbencher’s hunting bill, as Jack Straw announces an inquiry into the impact it would have on the rural economy led by Lord Burns.

April, 2000 - Straw looks at a bill with three options - outright ban, stricter regulation on hunts and no change. Backbenchers urge the government to back the ban or risk losing votes.

June, 2000 - The Burns inquiry says from 6,000 to 8,000 jobs would be lost if hunting was banned.

February 2001 - Hunting suspended after foot and mouth outbreak. MPs vote for outright ban by a majority of 179.

March 2001 - House of Lords votes against ban.

June 2001 - Queen’s Speech promises another free vote.

February 2002 - Hunting banned in Scotland. Ministers set out timetable for hunting bill in England and Wales.

September 2002 - More than 400,000 join Liberty and Livelihood March through London.

December 2002 - Bill published which would allow some hunts to continue under licence but ban hare coursing.

June 2003 - Amendment propsing complete ban passed.

July 2003 - MPs back bill by 317 to 145. House of Lords throws it out, calling for licensed fox, hare and stag hunting. MPs vote for bill to be re-written in favour of a complete ban. Bill runs out of time.

September 2004 - Government announces free vote on an outright ban. Clashes outside Parliament as MPs vote it through.

November 2004 - Commons speaker Michael Martin invokes the Parliament Act and the ban becomes law, which comes into force in February 2005.

January 2005 - Hunt supporters lose last-ditch High Court challenge.

February 18, 2005 - Ban comes into force.

May, 2010 - A free vote on repeal is included in Conservative Manifesto but not followed through.

May, 2015 - Conservative Manifesto includes free vote pledge as opposition believed to be at record levels.

April 18, 2017 - Theresa May calls snap election.

May 10, 2017 - Theresa May pledges free vote on repeal of Hunting Act.

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