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Baroness Masham of Ilton: Would the Minister include tenant farmers in that?

Lord Whitty: Yes, if they were the people with authority over access to land and they knowingly behave in that way, that would include tenant farmers.

Lord Northbrook: The Minister appears to be drawing the definition wider than the Bill does. Clause 3(1) mentions "a person" and Clause 10 mentions "a body corporate". The Minister appears to be drawing a wider definition.

Lord Whitty: A person or someone acting on behalf of a body corporate would have the authority. The body corporate or a person who has been devolved that authority from the landowner, or whoever exercises control over the land, would have the authority.

Lord Northbrook: That does not appear to be in the legislation.

Lord Whitty: It is whoever controls the land. The Committee will know that when a charity owns the land, the board of trustees does not open and close the gate. Someone acts on behalf of a manager of the land and if the manager gives permission for someone to engage in illegal activity, whether illegal hunting or anything else, he or she will be abetting illegal activity. The result of the amendment that was carried, against my earlier advice, envisages there being illegal hunting. Therefore, there should be an offence of knowingly abetting illegal hunting.

The Countess of Mar: The clause states,

A tenant does not own the land.

21 Oct 2003 : Column 1600

Lord Whitty: There is the matter of what the word "belongs" means. I am informed—noble Lords who have legal training will understand this—that there is an established legal precedent for that, which would include the owner of the lease to the land.

Lord Renton of Mount Harry: The Minister said that before dinner we passed an amendment by a substantial majority that allowed registration. He then implied that given that amendment, he believed that I was going rather far in pushing these amendments for the reasons that he has just stated. I accept that abolishing the two subsections in Clause 3 is a substantial step. Could he give the Committee a promise that he will recommend the amendment on registration, through the Government, to the House of Commons? If so, I agree that it is not necessary to move these amendments but, if not, I have no option because I do not know what will happen to registration.

Lord Whitty: The Committee is entitled to a free vote on all these matters. Should the Committee pass this amendment, and no doubt other amendments that will be tabled at later stages, the question of what the totality of the Bill will look like, and whether I or any government Minister will be prepared to recommend it or parts of it, is premature.

I was making the point that the noble Lord's opening remarks—before he spoke about the specific amendment—and many other comments, suggested that it had not been accepted that there should be some form of heath hunting that had been made illegal, when the act of registration implied that some existing hunting may be deemed illegal and that, therefore, the supplementary offences were needed for anyone who aids and abets by giving permission for illegal activity to take place.

That is the only point that I am making. A more general point is that if the Committee is serious about asking the House of Commons to think again about the original Bill, one should not delete all the other parts of the Bill that support that approach.

The Earl of Caithness: I have listened with care to what the Minister has said and I agree with him about illegal hunting. I shall return to that when we discuss hare coursing. That needs to be attacked in a stronger way than is being done at the moment. However, when talking about the landowner giving permission the words that he used were exactly those words in Amendment No. 20, tabled by my noble friend Lady Byford. The noble Lord did not use the phrase "knowingly permits", but the words "gives permission for". There is a great difference between those two phrases. If the noble Lord could agree to the amendment of my noble friend Lady Byford, which uses the words "gives permission for", that would solve many of the Committee's concerns.

21 Oct 2003 : Column 1601

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Byford: I finally get to the Dispatch Box to say that my noble friend has just said exactly what I wanted. While I support the amendment of my noble friend Lord Renton of Mount Harry, I think that mine clarifies the issue better. The Minister has just indicated that it should be clear that that person has given permission. If so, I cannot see why—although at the moment we have not reached my amendment, which is partly the problem—the Government cannot accept my amendment. It definitely clarifies the position quite precisely.

I shall not go over the ground that other noble Lords have talked about. Certainly, the position regarding tenants is quite right. If, as the noble Countess, Lady Mar, says there is a problem—and the Minister said there is not—I believe, as I am sure do other noble Lords, that the issue should be on the face of the Bill. We are seeking clarity. I do not quite know how to get out of this mess because we are already debating Amendment No. 20, which I support. I would much rather that noble Lords support my amendment, which gives greater clarification and perhaps does not quite go to the lengths that the Minister is accusing various parts of the Chamber of trying to obtain.

Lord Whitty: I have to leave it to noble Lords to sort out which of the amendments they want. However, I would caution the noble Baroness that giving permission without using the term "knowingly" could catch more people than the current clause does.

As regards clarity, Clause 11(3) spells out the definition of "belongs" and who is caught by it.

Baroness Blatch: Can the Minister tell me how one can give permission without knowingly giving permission?

Lord Whitty: One can give permission for people to come on to the land not knowing that it would be an illegal offence.

Lord Renton of Mount Harry: When I tabled the amendments I did not know that we would get into quite such a—I do not know whether "muddle" is the right word to use about them, but confusion.

First, I thank the Whip on the Government Front Bench for telling me that she thought I was transgressing in my first remarks. But she allowed me to continue none the less. That is a rare privilege and as an ex Chief Whip I realise what a privilege it was. I thank her very much.

I was particularly grateful during this interesting and wide-ranging debate to have the support of both the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, and the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, particularly given the fact that we sat on opposing Benches in the Commons for a great many years. It is particularly pleasant, therefore, to have their support.

I was pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Graham, referred to me as a colleague—although, again, we sat on opposite sides in the other place. I entirely

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understand his concern; but he was very adequately answered by the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, and by my noble friend Lord Mancroft. I should certainly expect that under the registration procedure that we agreed to before dinner, any hunt that behaved in the manner he described would be hauled up immediately, told to get it right, and asked to apologise and to repair any damage done. But I entirely understand the noble Lord's reason for raising that point; I hope that he will be entirely satisfied by future hunts.

I thank all noble Lords who have supported me. I have sought and received contradictory advice during the course of the past hour but, on balance, I take the Minister's point that we have moved forward on the issue of registration: that if there is registration, there may be illegal hunting. On that basis, I shall not press my amendment to a vote. I should like to hear what my noble friend has to say from the Front Bench, but if registration is not accepted by the Commons, I have no doubt that we shall want to return to the matter when and if the Bill returns to this House. On that basis, and having listened carefully to the Minister, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 20:

    Page 1, line 11, leave out "knowingly permits" and insert "gives permission for"

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move Amendment No. 20 and to speak to Amendment No. 22, but I shall not waste the Committee's time. I have listened carefully to what the Minister said. I tried to get him to follow the line that he indicated earlier. I beg to test the opinion of the Committee.

9.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 20) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 127; Not-Contents, 22.

Division No. 3


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Arran, E.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Best, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boyce, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chester, Bp.
Cobbold, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. [Teller]
Donoughue, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ferrers, E.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Golding, B.
Goschen, V.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Haskins, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hoffmann, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hylton, L.
Inge, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Luke, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D. [Teller]
Moran, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Nickson, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Plumb, L.
Puttnam, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Richardson of Duntisbourne, L.
Roper, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Scott of Foscote, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharples, B.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.


Berkeley, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. [Teller]
Fookes, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller]
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskel, L.
Hoyle, L.
Laird, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Thornton, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

21 Oct 2003 : Column 1604

10 p.m.

[Amendment No. 21 not moved.]

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