Fox hunting vote: Thursday 16 July
Just before the chancellor shows you what true blue Tory governments do on the economy, a titbit about next week and what true blue Tory governments do about an old sore, hunting.
On Thursday there will be a vote on a statutory instrument on hunting law aligning the England and Wales position with the law in Scotland.
The effect will be to remove the limit (currently two) on the number of dogs you can ride with as you go about pursuing foxes. There will also be some other changes: you can hunt with dogs to control livestock, not just game, and do so to cull injured animals.
The prime minister, I am told, will turn up to vote for the changes (which tells you something important is happening on a one-line whip day).
There are fewer anti-hunting Tories around than there used to be. Labour will rally most of its MPs who are around. The SNP will, most Tories hope, absent themselves from the vote.
The effect of this change is not to legalise hunting with dogs but, sources close to the wheeze say, to make prosecutions “unimaginable.” Prosecutions would continue for hare-coursing and much else but not, the backers of this move hope, for fox hunting.
The law will still forbid the dogs to rip apart a fox and will still require killing by a marksman, but anti-field sports campaigners argue that a pack of dogs will forge ahead and it’ll be impossible to stop them ripping apart a fox.
Anti-fox hunting campaigners knew this was coming and have already attacked what they feel is the government trying to overturn a popular law change using the backdoor of a statutory instrument.
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