MP Mike Penning: ‘This is not a vote about bringing hunting back’

Fox hunting.
Fox hunting.
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Many campaigners have been misinformed about the vote on fox hunting, says Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning.

He said protestors wrongly believe that the country’s MPs will be voting on repealing the hunting ban.

Library image.

Library image.

The poll was due to take place tomorrow (Wednesday) but has been postponed after the SNP said it would vote against the changes.

“This is not a vote about bringing hunting back,” said Mr Penning. “This is purely a vote on how many dogs you are allowed to use to flush out foxes and shoot them.

“It is exactly what takes place now.”

Currently the law restricts people to using a maximum of two dogs to flush out and stalk foxes and other vermin.

The planned free vote and debate is on proposals to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales again, which is in line with current legislation in Scotland.

Mr Penning said: “A lot of people that have been emailing me over the weekend have been ill advised by the person who is telling them what is happening. I’m trying to explain it when I write back.

“I have had a lot of people asking me for the amendment as well, so it’s not completely one sided.”

But the RSPCA has branded the government vote as a tactical amendment to the Hunting Act 2004.

A statement published on the animal charity’s website said: “It would weaken the Act to such an extent that it would become extremely difficult to enforce on illegal hunting with dogs.

“In many respects it’s the first step at dismantling the Act and the protection it provides for wildlife.”

A petition put together by Hemel Hempstead campaigners calling for the fox hunting ban to remain attracted 883 signatures and was presented to Mr Penning’s office on Monday.

The MP has said that he will vote in favour of the amendment.

The Gazette has been unable to make contact with South West Herts MP David Gauke for comment.