The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has confirmed its opinion that the Bill to ban hunting introduced by the Government infringes the European Convention on Human Rights.
The committee's report says: "The Bill is identical to the Hunting Bill brought from the House of Commons on 10th July 2003. We drew to the attention of each House our view that the Bill would have been likely to constitute a deprivation of property under Article 1 Protocol 1".
The Committee concludes that the Bill is only likely to be compatible with the ECHR if the commencement period of the Bill is increased to at least 18 months in line with a 'suggested amendment' passed by the Commons.
Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "This report, and the comments of Lord Whitty when questioned on the Human Rights status of the Bill in the Lords, suggest that the Minister was wrong to give a certificate of human rights compliance.
"This is another very good reason for MPs to reject an outright ban on hunting and to embrace the compromise proposed by the House of Lords, which would also comply with the Government's human rights legislation".