More and more of the economic and social life of our country is moving online. Access to high speed broadband is now widely recognised as an essential service alongside water, electricity and gas. It has been a challenge to this, and previous, governments to roll out broadband in the countryside. We therefore welcome the Government commitment, expressed in last week's Autumn statement to invest £1 billion in broadband and mobile technologies.
Therese Coffey said during the debate that Britain has the highest animal welfare standards in the world. When it comes to snares, that's utter nonsense - we're practically alone in Europe when it comes to allowing their use. I believe that it's time for the Government to back up those words with action. It's time for a ban on snares.
According to the latest European Food Standards Agency report (2010), lead from game meat represents less than 0.1% of the total dietary lead exposure. Compare this to cereals and potatoes which come in at over 40%. In fact, the average person gains more than 60 times more lead from beer than game meat.
I shudder to think what will happen if these amendments pass on Wednesday. Our Government will have been the one to technically legislate for a return to cruelty. We cannot let them. It is wrong. At its very best, this is misrepresentation of the electorate, dirty play and a backward step for our progressive nation.
Ten years on is a good time to reflect - but let's hope that in 10 years from now British people, from all walks of life, can together hold our heads up high and say that we respect our laws and know the difference between right and wrong. Let's not have a return to cruelty, let's have a return to morality and common sense.
It's that time of year again, bellies full, another re-run of Only Fools and Horses on the telly and the annual media scramble around picturesque chocolate box villages up and down the country to report on the 'traditional' Boxing Day hunts, to marvel in the spectre of the noble red coats on their trusty steeds, at the well-groomed packs of hounds and crowds of good country folk celebrating an age old British tradition.
This Boxing Day is the tenth since the Hunting Act was passed by Parliament. It came into force six months later. For hunting, and for many people in the countryside, this was the lowest moment, but hunting still thrives despite all the fears and the dire predictions. How is it that an activity that was outlawed after an epic and bitter political campaign has survived?