With Prime Minister David Cameron now leading a majority government, pro-hunting Conservatives are looking to him to make good on his pledge to bring a free vote to the floor in Parliament to repeal the despised Hunting Act of 2002. Despite his majority, however, Cameron is loath to risk a free vote. Too many members of his own party, not to mention the Liberal opposition, have pledged to oppose him on the issue. But the natives are restless, and he must do something.
A potential solution has been announced that would, rather than produce a protracted battle for repeal, require only a statutory change in the existing law. This approach would involve only ninety minutes of debate as opposed to weeks.
The proposal, if passed, will make it legal once again to use a full pack—as many hounds as deemed necessary for wildlife management—to flush a fox to a gun, rather than the current limit of only two hounds. This, pro-hunters will argue, will help farmers who need predation control and will also help sick and mangy foxes to a speedier and kinder demise. Such a change will also bring the English Hunting Act more in line with Scottish law, thus rendering the plan less objectionable to members of the Scottish National Party than would an outright attempt to reverse the Act.
Cameron’s plan is to put the idea to the Conservative party this week. If approved, the statutory instrument could be debated in Parliament as early as next week.
Click for more details in Melissa Kite’s article in The Spectator.
Posted July 8, 2015