» Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Fox Hunting

Asked when an announcement would be made on fox hunting, the PMOS said he did not think that journalists would have much longer to wait. DEFRA would be answering a PQ on this issue a little later this afternoon. Asked which Minister was in the lead on this matter, the PMOS said that it was the responsibility of the Rural Affairs Minister, Alun Michael. That said, it was important for journalists to remember that the issue would be put to a free vote.

Asked to set out the Prime Minister’s personal view on fox hunting, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had expressed his opinion in the past. It had not changed. Journalists were just as able to look it up as he was. Put to him that the policy had changed since the Prime Minister had expressed his view, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister’s view was on the record. They could go away and read it for themselves. Asked why the Prime Minister didn’t adopt the same position when answering questions about Iraq for example, the PMOS pointed out that the position on Iraq was constantly evolving. Nor was it a matter for a free vote in the House. Asked if it was fair to say that the Prime Minister did not support a ban on fox hunting in the light of the fact that he hadn’t voted for such a thing in the Commons, the PMOS repeated that the Prime Minister had expressed his personal view on the issue in the past. Equally, it was important to recognise that it was a matter for a free vote in the House. In answer to further questions, the PMOS said that our approach to this issue was the same as our approach to other matters requiring a free vote in the House. As we had made clear consistently, the Prime Minister believed that a free vote meant that individual MPs had a right to reach their own view and vote accordingly. Asked if the vote in the Commons next week would be a free vote, despite the fact that the Bill would be a Government Bill, the PMOS said that it would remain a free vote. He cautioned journalists against getting too ahead of themselves at this point. The PQ would be answered shortly, at which time these questions would be addressed. In the meantime, a little patience wouldn’t go amiss.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. I would like to express my support for the Government’s stance on Fox Hunting. I also live in the countryside and suppose that many other people who live and work in the countryside do not support Fox Hunting. It is simply impossible for our voices to be heard over the arrogant baying of the hunt supporters.

    I am a keen supporter of organic farming and gardening and now feel ashamed that Prince Charles, an organic farmer, has championed such a backward and barbaric ‘sport’. (It is a sport).

    I have also been able to see that the royal family and especially the Queen as important to the British Constitution, helping to balance the power of Parliament, the Police and the Lords, but now after many years I can see them for what they really are – privileged and rich beyond belief, treated as special when they are not and holding land they do not deserve to keep.

    Comment by Erica Petterson — 19 Sep 2004 on 5:05 pm | Link
  2. I am appalled that those who are in favour of a ban on hunting with hounds/dogs choose the words arrogant, rich, priveliged etc. whilst commenting on the subject. An awful lot of the people who partake in the sports of hunting, coursing and ratting are ordinary working class people not "toffs in red coats".

    I strongly suggest those who have not read the hunting bill take the time to do so, as it has dire implications for many groups of people, who could find themselves commiting an illegal act in all innocence. For that reason alone the bill is unworkable.

    According to the bill any one with two or more dogs would be breaking the law if they let the dogs off a lead and the local wildlife happened to take flight!

    Take heed!
    Every time the chosen few in parliament decide you are doing something that they dont like they can ban it without so much as a thought.

    This ban has been voted through for all the wrong reasons, that liar Blair has thrown his dogs a bone so they will allow him his own way on other issues.

    A better trained pack of mutts there never was!

    Comment by Lincolnshire Farmer — 22 Sep 2004 on 9:20 am | Link
  3. Don’t forget that "the chosen few in parliament" are chosen by us, the people. Its called representative democracy.

    I agree that the isse of hunting has nothing to do with ‘toffs’ in the same way it has nothing to do with ‘the countryside’. The issue is whether the hunting and killing of an animal should be viewed as a sport in our society. I don’t think it should and the majority of people in this country share that point of view. Therefore it is right and democratic for the hunting bill to be passed.

    While I have no doubt that Tony Blair does think that passing the bill will be a vote winner, it should be remembered that it was a free vote and MPs were not following party lines.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 22 Sep 2004 on 2:03 pm | Link
  4. personally, i think anyone who can justify tearing an animal apart with a pack of dogs, trained or otherwise, for any reason, is sick in the head – and anyone who says otherwise is welcome to come and meet me and explain personally, face to face, why it can be justified commercially or otherwise. i’d be very willing to point out the error of your views. get a grip, for christ’s sake; the fact that an industry has sprung up around this cruelty is just indicative of how far removed certain sections of society are removed from humanity – and if it takes an eye for an eye to point out the disparity in vierws, then bring it on!

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Sep 2004 on 3:16 am | Link

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