Even in these politically unpredictable times last week’s election result – which saw a hung parliament – was a surprise.
Now Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] in order to retain power. The DUP is often viewed as a controversial organisation, due to its regressive views on topics like homosexuality, abortion and climate change.
In order to win the support of the DUP it is looking like May will have to tear-up several of her manifesto pledges.These potentially include proposals for a means-tested fuel allowance, plans to scrap the pensions triple lock – and the promise to hold a parliamentary free vote on fox hunting.
A number of commentators have expressed shock that the PM publicised her intention to hold a free vote should she be successful in the election, as the blood sport is so unpopular with the general population.
Polling shows up to 90 per cent of British people support the 2004 Hunting Act, which prohibits the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.
Despite this, before the election May promised to hold a free vote, saying she had ‘always been in favour of fox hunting’.
Badger Trust CEO and political campaigner Dominic Dyer, one of the leaders of last month’s Make Hunting History March, says plans to overturn the legislation are effectively over.
He told Plant Based News: “Any move to repeal the Hunting Act is dead in the water. May chose to play politics with wildlife and has paid heavy price.
“Along with Dementia Tax, fox hunting was a key issue of concern for voters. The Make Hunting History March to Downing Street was biggest public protest election campaign, over 5,000 people joined the protest.
“The huge media interest it generated led many young voters to polls to vote against the Tories.
“History will remember Theresa May as a Prime Minister who completely overlooked huge opposition to fox hunting. Any new leader of Tory Party will not make the same mistake.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came out to decry hunting as barbaric, and pledged to keep the ban in place, should he win the keys to 10 Downing Street. Although this has not happened, the lack of support May has in parliament means any attempt to win a free vote would be unlikely.
The last attempts to scrap the anti hunting legislation were in 2015, after then PM David Cameron was forced to undergo a U-turn after the SNP said it would oppose the move – along with a record 70 Tory MPs who dislike blood sports.