LOCAL MPs are split over plans to relax the law on fox hunting.
Proposals were drawn up to revise restrictions on the sport so an unlimited amount of hounds can be used to ‘flush out’ a fox, similar to in Scotland. The present law says only two can be used.
I have always said that, in the event of a vote, I would vote to repeal the Hunting Act and I would also vote in favour of any sensible measures to amend it.Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery
A vote was due to take place today – but the SNP’s decision to vote against the change has seen it postponed.
The party’s 56 MPs agreed on Monday to break with their normal practice of not voting on England-only matters.
Portsmouth South Tory MP Flick Drummond said the present law shouldn’t be changed.
She said: ‘I don’t think the ban should be relaxed.
‘What is in place is perfectly adequate and I will not support any amendment.
‘I will not support a repeal of the bill. What I don’t like is the alternative – I don’t like snaring or guns.
‘A quick death is the best death for a fox. The government has got it right at the moment.’
Havant MP Alan Mak said he was undecided – but criticised the SNP for attempting to get involved in English matters.
He said: ‘I’m disappointed the SNP broke its promise not to get involved in issues that only affect England.
‘It shows why we need English votes for English laws.
‘I’ll wait until the exact wording of any new proposal comes forward and then reflect and decide.’
Yesterday’s postponement came on the same day animal welfare activists staged a rally outside Parliament against any amendment of the Hunting Act, which outlawed the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales in 2004.
But Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said he would welcome changes and believed the current act was flawed.
He said: ‘I have always said that, in the event of a vote, I would vote to repeal the Hunting Act and I would also vote in favour of any sensible measures to amend it.
‘I would do this because, in my judgment, the act does very little to protect the animals it is supposed to help, and has actually meant that many more foxes are now killed than before by farmers still quite within their rights to shoot them.
‘The act also simply doesn’t work because it’s a very badly-drafted legislation that allows a good deal of hunting to continue in much the same way as it did previously.’