LONDON — Theresa May has confirmed that she would like to bring back fox hunting to Britain.
Answering questions during a campaign visit to Leeds, the prime minister said she has “always been in favour” of hunting and intends to honour the Tory party’s commitment to allowing parliament a free vote on the issue.
“I’ve always been in favour of hunting and we maintain our commitment — we’ve had a commitment previously — to allow a free vote,” she said on Tuesday afternoon.
The key piece of legislation regarding fox hunting in Britain is the 2004 Hunting Act — which bans the hunting of various wild mammals including hares, deers and foxes with dogs. It came into effect in England and Wales in 2005.
The Conservative Party’s 2015 manifesto promised to give MPs a free vote on scrapping the 2004 Hunting Act. The ban remains in place to this day despite protestations from pro-hunting groups and MPs.
However, an emailed leaked to the Mirror this week suggested leading hunting masters are quietly mobilising support for pro-hunting Conservative MPs ahead of the June 8 general election, amid the feeling that a Tory majority of at least 50 would be enough to repeal the 2004 Act.
“This is the chance we have been waiting for,” Conservative peer Lord Mancroft wrote in the leaked letter.
Adding: “A majority of 50 or more would give us a real opportunity for repeal of the Hunting Act. This is by far the best opportunity we have had since the ban, and is probably the best we are likely to get in the foreseeable future.”
A YouGov poll published in 2015 found that 61% of Brits supported parliament’s decision to outlaw fox hunting, while 30% of respondents disagreed with it.
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