Conservative manifesto to include Hunting Act repeal

Copyright Telegraph Newspapers

Copyright Telegraph Newspapers

The saying that a week is a long time in politics is certainly true for those of us involved in the hunting debate. Seven days ago, the Sunday Telegraph ran a story that the Conservative Party – and particularly its leader, Mr Cameron – was ‘considering its options’ over the issue of repeal of the Hunting Act. Today’s edition of that newspaper contains an altogether different story.

Repeal of the Hunting Act means a return to hare coursing, deer hunting, stag hunting and fox hunting, and the legalisation of dog and fox baiting underground. Independent opinion polling by Ipsos-MORI for the League and IFAW shows that support for the Hunting Act is increasing and that as many as 85% of the public don’t want to see a return to hare coursing. Amongst Conservative voters, 62% want to see fox hunting remain illegal.

And yet senior Conservatives including Messrs Cameron, Hague, Garnier and Herbert continue to pursue their agenda for repeal of the Act. Of course, for Mr Herbert it’s personal: his career history includes a stint at the British Field Sports Society at the time it became the Countryside Alliance. And six weeks ago, The Guardian reported that Mr Herbert’s coffers had been swollen to the tune of £24,500 “from seven separate donations, including known critics of the hunting ban, and made a declaration in the MPs’ register of interests eight days after attacking the hunting ban”, so said that paper.

Last Sunday, Mr Herbert told the ST that “…We are working up various options about how we will do repeal. We will give time for a vote on repeal but we have also said we don’t intend to waste parliamentary time on this. We haven’t said what form repeal would take in terms of a bill. I’m aware of the distinction between a private member’s bill and a government bill but I don’t think it is sensible to rule out options.” Today he says that “…David Cameron has said that, if we are elected, we will give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time. There will be no watering down or retreat from this pledge, which will be repeated in our election manifesto.”

This is the first time that the Conservative front bench has confirmed that this will be a manifesto commitment. Our campaign to Keep Cruelty History will challenge that. Visit the campaign website here.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    […] Well. perhaps not big as in, economy big, but big enough to take up a little sections in the conservative manifesto and oversized Labour billboards you see on motorways as you drive […]

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