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Country News - 2004

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Ban hunting – to save Labour

Monday 14 June 2004

LEFT-WING Labour MPs launched a new campaign over the weekend to persuade Tony Blair to reintroduce the Bill to ban fox hunting – as a device to save the Labour party from dangerous splits.

With the Government winning the lowest-ever vote in last week’s local government elections, and allegations that Gordon Brown and some sacked former cabinet ministers are plotting to oust the Prime Minister, it is being touted as an issue that can re-unite the party as a general election looms next year.

MP Mike Foster went on BBC Radio 4 to say that if Mr Blair were to reintroduce the Hunting with Dogs Bill – which many country folk hoped had been quietly sidelined – it would be a move to make all Labour MPs forget their various differences.

The proposal provoked fury amongst not only fox hunting supporters but also thousands of country folk who bitterly resent town-based politicians trampling on rural traditions as a mere ploy to save their own political skins.

The row erupted as it was revealed that the Countryside Agency, in imposing the Rights to Roam acts which come into force in the next few weeks, have refused to make an exception to the Queen’s privately owned Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

Despite huge security implications, people will be given permission to enter the Sandringham grounds for picnics – or even to play football.


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