Government shelves manifesto pledge on fox hunting repeal vote
There will be no vote on repealing fox hunting before 2019 at the earliest, the Government has revealed.
The Conservative manifesto pledge to give MPs their say on the issue but there was no reference to the issue in last month’s Queen’s Speech.
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed the plans had been shelved in response to a parliamentary question by Labour MP Catherine West.
Ms Coffey said: “The Government’s manifesto includes a free vote on the Hunting Act 2004, but we are not planning to bring forward a free vote in this session.”
The Government announced a two-year parliamentary session after losing its Commons majority in the recent general election.
The Tory manifesto had said of fox hunting: “We will grant a free vote, on a Government bill in government time, to give parliament the opportunity to decide the future of the Hunting Act.”
Ms West told the Independent the “cruel and prolonged suffering of animals has no place in a civilised society”.
“It is clear that the overwhelming majority of the British public also support the ban on hunting with hounds, with a recent poll showing a record high of 84% back the ban,” she added.
Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson Baroness Parminter also welcomed the decision to shelve the plan.
“It's good news that the Government has dropped this proposal,” she said.
“It was a ridiculous idea to reopen a debate which was comprehensively decided on ten years ago.
“In these uncertain times, the Government should be focusing on the real priorities for rural communities and protecting the wildlife and countryside that they cherish.”
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