Andrea Leadsom angers Tory animal lovers with hopes to hold vote over hunting ban
ANDREA LEADSOM’S dreams of moving into Downing Street are taking a mauling after she incurred the wrath of the Tories’ formidable Blue Foxes.
By STUART WINTER PUBLISHED: 16:11, Fri, Jul 8, 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34, Fri, Jul 8, 2016
Mrs Leadsom revealed her hopes of bringing back hunting with hounds
The Conservative leadership contender is being warned by a feisty band of heartland Tories that she has shot herself in the foot over the toxic issue of fox hunting.
Within hours of the energy minister declaring she would give MPs a chance to overturn the Hunting Act, Tory animal lovers were baying for her blood.
The Blue Foxes – otherwise known as Conservatives Against Fox Hunting – have been instrumental in gathering strong support among Tory MPs to derail recent Westminster attempts to repeal the law.
As formidable as the old blue rinse and pearls brigade, the Blue Foxes are a new breed of largely women Conservative members with strong animal welfare views. Their votes will play a significant part in the last round of membership voting for the party’s leader.
Mrs Leadsom revealed her hopes of bringing back hunting with hounds when she won through to the final round of the leadership battle with Theresa May.
“I would absolutely commit to holding a vote to repeal the hunting ban, I think it’s not proven to be in the interests of animal welfare whatsoever,” she said.
The tory debate is now a two person race between Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom
“I live in a constituency that’s quite rural about this and very successful hunts there that are now absolutely abiding by the law as it stands now, but who are very often pointing out to me the consequences of the need to exterminate vermin, which foxes are.”
I would absolutely commit to holding a vote to repeal the hunting ban
Her words brought an immediate response from Lorraine Platt, founder of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting, who warned the minister she was opening the same kind of divisive issue for Tories as Brexit.
“Recent History has shown us time and time again that political leaders can have misguided views and make serious, misjudgments,” said Mrs Platt.
“We believe that it would be a poor mistake to revisit a vote on repealing a popular piece of wildlife legislation. It would be a retrograde step and the ban on fox hunting should be strengthened instead of repealed.
“The Government needs to address the real, everyday concerns for people, not an outdated, minority agenda pursued by a handful of blood sport enthusiasts.”