Shhh! Don’t tell anyone that I support hunting!

Earlier this week, and as part of our Keep Cruelty History campaign, the League sent an email to tens of thousands of its supporters, asking them to contact the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in their constituency to establish their opinion on repeal of the Hunting Act.

So far the response has been very promising and the responses have been flowing thick and fast. A vast majority of Labour candidates are promising to vote against repeal, as are a significant majority of Liberal Democrat candidates. And whilst not a majority, a good number of Conservative candidates are promising to vote against repeal.

But the most interesting thing is the number of pro-repeal candidates who are very vocal about the issue when they are speaking to the right audience, but who say absolutely nothing about it to the rest of their constituents. Take Louise Bagshawe, for example, the Conservative candidate for Corby in Northamptonshire.

Louise first came to our attention when she popped up on the website of ‘Vote-OK’, an organisation created to support pro-repeal candidates but which wants to avoid talking about hunting, and hence its pretty lame name. If you visit the website, you’ll find film of a very breathless Louise explaining why she wants the support of Vote-OK in her constituency and how she backs the campaign for repeal of the Hunting Act.

She then popped up on the Westminster Hour over the summer, and today said via Twitter that she “Will be meeting hunt activists tonight. Yes Labour, we will repeal the hunting ban on a free vote. Stuff your authoritarianism”. That then sparked a debate amongst some of her followers on Twitter, prompting her to publish other tweets including: “Not a big deal to repeal the Hunting Act; simple free vote in govt bill. Sadly, much bigger deal to undo the rest of Labour’s damage” and “Now off to Brigstock to meet members of one of the many local Northants hunts. I’ll be sure to pass on how Labour despises them!”, before descending into personal insult with the following message to one twitterer: “you stick to Soho. I think you’ll get a rash if you venture into the country”

This evening we visited Louise’s website, and searched for the word ‘hunting’. The result? “Your search yielded no results.”

Funny that.

Louise claims – in another post on Twitter – that her party, “…it’s a simple repeal. you won’t find Tory literature concentrating on it”. And that’s the point. You won’t find Tory literature concentrating on it – or literature from any pro-repeal candidate of any party – because they are running scared from the massive public opinion that remains very firmly in support of the ban, and the 59% of the public who, according to YouGov, would consider changing their vote if their chosen candidate was pro-hunt.

After all, we’ve just done the same search – for ‘hunting’ – on Simon Hart’s website. He’s a candidate in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in Wales, but crucially he’s also the Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance; so if anyone’s mentioning hunting it should be him. But what was the result of the search? Nothing. Click here and see for yourself.

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