20 Conservative PPCs use same standard response

This weekend, the League will be attending the Conservative Party Spring Forum in Brighton. It’s the final Party event before the general election,  follows Labour’s event in Warwick last weekend, and precedes the Liberal Democrat one in Birmingham next weekend.

We find ourselves in an unusual position with the Conservatives. On the one hand, we have a great deal of support from Conservatives on campaigns such as snaring and bullfighting, and in recent weeks we have worked very closely with a senior Conservative MP on the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations as they were passing through parliament.

On the other hand we have the hunting issue and whilst somewhere between 15 and 20 per-cent of Conservative candidates do not support repeal of the Hunting Act, there seems to be a general acceptance in some areas of the Party that to consort with the League is to consort with the devil. It is also quite astonishing to us how much spin in circulating within that Party on the hunting issue.

Up and down the country, our supporters have contacted the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) of all parties to seek their view on repeal of the Hunting Act. The responses are forwarded to us, and the current figures show that 69.8% of Conservative PPCs support repeal, as do 5.7% of Liberal Democrat PPCs and less than 1% of Labour PPCs.

But what’s most telling is the language used in the PPC responses. Most argue their point eloquently and effectively, but we’ve noticed a trend amongst some Conservatives to all use exactly the same wording. For instance, we now have twenty Conservative candidates all using the following line:

“I was also struck by the recent comments of Jim Barrington, the former Executive Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, who said…”

The quote itself isn’t important, and anyway, we’ve all heard Mr Barrington’s arguments before. The key point is the very personal comment that “I was struck by…”. Now, we’re not politically naive enough to think that standard responses don’t exist, but we think it’s pretty shoddy that such a personal statement, loaded with feeling, should be used, word for word, by at least twenty candidates.

So, if we see Laura Sandys, John Horam, Gregory Barker, Stephen O’Brien, Amber Rudd, Margot James, Jeremy Hunt, Richard Bacon, David Gauke, David Ruffley, Iain Duncan Smith, Mark Hoban, Damian Green, Peter Ainsworth, Brooks Newmark, Michael Fabricant, Mike Penning, Stewart Jackson, Malcolm Moss or Richard Ottaway this weekend, we’ll offer them a new standard letter that better reflects the science, the facts, and the public opinion on the hunting debate. The existence of the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group shows that there are some in the Party who can think for themselves and come down against cruelty.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I truly hope the Tories do not get into power.

  2. 2

    “20 Conservative PPCs use same standard response”

    That is what is call toeing the party line. And that is why I, as an ex-Conservatiive, am standing as an independent in South East Cambridgeshire.


  3. 3

    journosteve said,

    I think it’s time for the League’s trustees to reconsider its legal status as a charity. The current one means it cannot campaign on party political issues, which is precisely what the hunting ban now is. The Tories are committed, 100%, to restoring hunting with hounds, and no number of videos, polls, pressure groups is going to change that. All the senior party leadership, and nearly every PCC, is pro-hunting. With no manifesto or programme to offer, they need to preserve some sort of guaranteed electorate, of course. It would be a shameful and dreadful day, were a Tory-dominated parliament to repeal the Act. I think that’s precisely what is going to happen, however. The League needs to be able to focus its campaign – not only against hunters, but also against their political party. Food for thought.

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