Labour call on ministers to confirm fox-hunting vote plans have been dropped
Labour has called on the Government to confirm reports that they will drop a manifesto commitment to allow MPs a free vote on reversing the fox-hunting ban.
The move comes after The Sunday Times reported that the Prime Minister is set to U-turn on her election pledge following strong opposition in her own ranks.
The issue sparked division within the Tories before the General Election when Mrs May said she had “always been in favour of fox hunting” and would allow members to roll back the ban imposed under Tony Blair’s government.
Number 10 has downplayed, but not yet denied, reports that it is set to be ditched as policy.
Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said her opposite number, Michael Gove, must clarify the Conservatives’ position.
"While hunts around the country continue to defy the ban, the vast majority of the public do not want a return of this cruel and barbaric activity,” she said.
“The Tories need to put the debate to rest and pledge that they will never again try to bring back fox hunting.
“If the Tories' claims about animal welfare were true, they would have ruled out the return of fox hunting months ago, rethought their poorly regulated badger cull and not tried to water down existing EU standards on animal welfare."
While any U-turn risks further alienating rural voters, PoliticsHome understands party bosses are convinced that appearing pro-animal welfare will help win back young voters who backed Labour in the election.
Responding to Mrs May’s initial bid to repeal the act in June, Jeremy Corbyn said the sport represented “barbarity” and pledged to keep it banned on animal welfare grounds.