Conservative women warn Prime Minister David Cameron to keep fox hunting ban
THE Blue Foxes, a formidable group of Conservative women, are warning David Cameron not to support efforts to change the law on fox hunting.
Breaking ranks with the party’s hunting, shooting and fishing set, the Blue Foxes have told the Prime Minister he is “playing with political fire”.
Mr Cameron is “sympathetic” towards the hunters who want to repeal the ban on flushing out foxes with more than two dogs.
He has ridden with the Heythrop Hunt, which was fined £4,000 with £15,000 costs last year for breaking the law.
It is not only those who ride to hounds who want to see a change in the law.
Farmers have complained of an increase in attacks on lambs by foxes since hunting was outlawed and this week the BBC will screen Fox Wars, a documentary revealing 33,000 of the animals are plaguing our towns.
Labour’s Hunting Act came into effect in 2004 after one of the most heated political debates in living memory.
The 2010 Coalition agreement includes provision for a free vote on repealing the ban and Downing Street has not ruled out one before the next general election.
However, as well as overwhelming Labour opposition to a return to full-scale fox hunting, there is a small but vehement group of up to 26 Tory MPs who are against changing the law.
Conservatives Against Fox Hunting has become a highly active and vociferous group, with its supporters known as the Blue Foxes. Its co-founder Lorraine Platt last night said bringing back hunting with dogs would alienate the very women supporters the Tories seek.
She said: “We are seeing an increasing number of Conservative women who are at the forefront in the campaign against hunting with dogs, not just women MPs but also Conservative women councillors, agents and party members.”
Downing Street says the issue is causing cross-party concerns.
Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “There is a very specific issue here around pest control and the impact it has on particular farming communities, such as hill farmers.”