Minister slams hunting laws
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has attacked the fox hunting ban and called for a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act. Ahead of visiting the Boxing Day hunt near Peterborough. Mr Paice said the law "simply doesn't work" and added: "I personally am in favour of hunting with dogs".
Mr Paice also said: "the Coalition Agreement clearly states that we will have a free vote on whether to repeal the act when there is time in the parliamentary calendar to do so."
Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Mary Creagh criticised Mr Paice's comments and said: "There is no place for animal cruelty in a civilised society and most people back Labour's ban on hunting wild animals with dogs. People are worried about their incomes falling, prices rising and losing their jobs, yet this out of touch Tory-led Government want to bring hunting back."
The Telegraph reports that despite Mr Paice's comments, any Commons vote on the issue is unlikely to be held next year or in 2013. Over 300 hunts are expected to take place today and the Countryside Alliance estimates that as many as 250,000 supporters will join those hunting with dogs.