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As the annual Boxing Day hunts prepare to set off across Suffolk and Essex, UKIP MP Douglas Carswell calls for fox hunting ban to remain in place

06:00 26 December 2014

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the Hadleigh Boxing Day Hunt last year

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the Hadleigh Boxing Day Hunt last year

Leave the ban on fox hunting alone, UK Independence Party MP Douglas Carswell has said.

Ukip MP Douglas CarswellUkip MP Douglas Carswell

The Essex MP, who defected from the Conservatives earlier this year, said he believed there were much more pressing issues facing the area, also claiming it was not realistic that his own party’s policy to hold a referendum in each county on the issue would see the ban overturned in Essex.

Speaking ahead of Boxing Day hunts, the Clacton MP said: “Killing small fluffy animals is not something that I am really in favour of”.

He will put himself at odds with the pro-hunting lobby which hopes that the election will herald an overturning of the ban on fox-hunting.

James Buckle, master of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt said: “Douglas Carswell has always been an incredible supporter of us, but the only way to get the hunting act repealed is to get a Conservative majority, so Douglas taking a Conservative seat is not very helpful.”

Tim Bonner, from the Countryside Alliance, blasted UKIP’s wider policy, saying it was “possibly the most idiotic policy on hunting that is capable of imagining”.

“They want county by county referendum on whether hunting should be legal. Why it would be cruel to hunt a fox in Suffolk but okay in Essex, and how you stop your hounds when you reach the border I’m not quite sure.

A British tradition, the Boxing Day Hunt in Hadleigh - 2011A British tradition, the Boxing Day Hunt in Hadleigh - 2011

“Along with many areas of their rural policy, I think people once they look beyond Nigel Farage’s tweed jacket they find there is very little of substance in Ukip’s rural agenda.

But Ukip leader Nigel Farage said that Tim Bonner seemed to be “lashing out against himself”.

“He was clearly conned by the Tories in 2010 when the Countryside Alliance poured massive resources and delivered hundreds of thousands of leaflets for the Conservatives.

“The results of which have been, nothing, no change in the law, no free vote, nothing at all. Conversely what UKIP offer with our planned county based referendums is a chance for rural people to have their say. It’s simple, it is about democracy.”

A free vote on fox hunting was agreed in the coalition manifesto, subject to parliamentary time, but the Government has privately acknowledged that with just a few months until the election it will not take place this parliament.

But while the Conservatives have not yet published their manifesto, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has voiced her support for a repeal.

Boxing Day Hunt at Castle Hedingham - 2012Boxing Day Hunt at Castle Hedingham - 2012

She said: “People should have the freedom to hunt. We’ve said that when parliamentary time allows there will be a free vote on this issue and I am personally committed to voting for repeal of the current legislation.”

Mr Carswell said: “This is not even in my top 100 priorities, let alone top 10 priorities. We don’t need a change in the law. I think leave things as they are. I personally would leave the ban in place as it is at the moment. When you go out with the hunt, ask yourself what it is that they want to do, that they can’t do.

“People in Clacton and Frinton and Walton, they want me to try and fix the ambulance response times, they don’t want me to get involved in a debate on a ban on ending hunting.”

Asked about his previous support for fox hunting as member of the Conservative Party, he said: “It was party policy and I went along with it. But killing small fluffy animals is 
not something that I am really in favour of. My general view is that if you are going to hunt something eat it, but we don’t eat foxes. My view is leave the ban in place.”

10 comments

  • It's the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable (thanks, Oscar).

    Report this comment

    Boris

    Monday, December 29, 2014

  • How naive can you get Boyce, this is one of the most unpleasant countryside activities to be seen in this country, and the ban should be irrevocable. Oh yes they look splendid as they trot off in their privileged splendour, but it goes downhill rapidly from then on.

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

  • This is one of very few UKIP comments that I can support!

    Report this comment

    John Shirley

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

  • Strange really that our children learn from their forefathers ..So who in their right mind would actually teach a young son or daughter to hunt down a fox by chasing it till its cornered, can't move from exhaustion then let them watch as a bunch of dogs rip it to bits for a day Out? If no one taught this barbaric so called sport it would die out in a generation. The countryside alliance is outdated and should teach their children to respect the law! ..long may the ban stand.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • I am actually rather pleased to see the Tories commit electoral suicide; for that is what trying to repeal the hunting ban is. The economy is in a mess and Osborne's growth figures are being degraded, the poor are being devastated whilst the rich are given tax cuts, the NHS is about to be hammered .... and given all these reasons NOT to vote for the Tories they now pick an issue where the majority of UK voters disagree with them. The only purpose of hunting is to allow some of the idle rich to show their power over anything they can use and defenceless animals are the soft target. If they like blood sports then can I suggest a one-to-one EQUAL fight with a lion; equal means both are unarmed!

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Isnt it about time that people just left wildlife alone, foxes naturally eat rats etc, it is in my opinion a barbaric act and hefty fines of more than £10,000 should be set as a minimum fine, this country has pathetic laws and punishments never fit the crimes.

    Report this comment

    Paul Edwards

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Chasing animals and murdering animals is outdated and simply barbaric . How can you call it a sport ? No one should have the privilege of killing wild animals in the name of "sport".

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Under the UKIP proposals, presumably the Sussex hunts will chase foxes to the Surrey border, where they will be gunned down by Pest Control (the foxes I mean)

    Report this comment

    kennensiedas

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • World shocked as UKIP man actually says something sensible! And doesn't even try to blame the EU!

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Friday, December 26, 2014

  • The purpose of a hunt is to provide a good day out for a group of people.......................Nothing more and nothing less

    Report this comment

    Boyce

    Friday, December 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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