In Brief

Theresa May drops plans for fox-hunting vote

The PM has not changed her personal view but says she listened to ‘messages’ during the election

Theresa May has dropped a campaign promise to hold a vote on the fox-hunting ban, a manifesto pledge some believe contributed to the Conservatives losing their parliamentary majority at the election.

 Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Prime Minister said she had not changed her personal view on the issue but had listened to “messages” she got during the election.

“My own view has not changed but as Prime Minister, my job isn’t just about what I think about something, it’s actually about looking at what the view of the country is,” she said.

The announcement was welcomed by anti-hunting campaigners, while Labour, which made the issue one of its central lines of attack against the Tories in the run-up to June’s vote, said the move was “long overdue”. The party called on ministers to take tough action against those who continue to conduct illegal fox hunts.

It follows a concerted effort by the party and Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, to counter social media campaigns denouncing the Conservative record on animal rights. However, “the U-turn will anger some party members and supporters in its rural heartlands”, says The Guardian.

The ban on fox-hunting has proved hugely contentious ever since it was introduced by Tony Blair in 2004. It prompted demonstrations at the time led by the Countryside Alliance and since then both David Cameron and Theresa May have pledged to hold a vote on repealing it.

However, with a Survation poll taken ahead of the election revealing that 67% of voters believe fox-hunting should remain illegal and the Prime Minister’s change of heart, it appears the bloodsport will remain banned for the foreseeable future.

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