Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to keep the hunting ban in place if he wins the general election – calling bloodsports ‘barbaric’.
His views are in staunch contrast to Prime Minister Theresa May who recently said she has ‘always supported hunting’. She has promised a free vote in parliament if she is returned to government, threatening to overturn the 2004 Hunting Act.
The Conservative manifesto says: ‘We will grant a free vote, on a government bill in government time, to give parliament the opportunity to decide the future of the Hunting Act.”
According to the PM, she supports hunting on the grounds that other methods of ‘controlling’ fox populations are ‘cruel’.
Corbyn holds opposing views. Speaking at a rally, he said: “I grew up in rural Shropshire and the first speech I ever made in my school was of the need to ban fox hunting, hare coursing, badger baiting, and even in those days otter hunting
“It was a strongly rural area and I lost the debate. But I was in Parliament when we finally got the law changed and got the hunting ban through. I was there when we got the badger baiting ban through as well.
“You can be very clear that any government I am head of would not tolerate this kind of barbarity which his called sport in this country.”
The vast majority of the electorate is anti-bloodsports, with polling showing up to nine out of 10 people do not want to see the ban overturned. A poll released yesterday by Survation showed half of voters would be put off a candidate who was pro-hunting.
Earlier this week, thousands took to the streets of London for the Make Hunting History March to protest May’s pledge to hold a free vote on hunting.
Speaking at the march TV star Bill Oddie said: “This is a day I thought would never come following an amazing achievement in 2004 – the Hunting Act. A lot of us thought ‘let’s move onto another issue’. The fact we are having to argue about this again is sick.”