TOP politicians, policemen and MPs were today planning urgent talks to boost security in the House of Commons after yesterday's invasion by pro-hunting demonstrators.
But the father of one of the group which forced its way onto the floor of the house vowed on the Radio Four Today programme that "this was just the beginning. Country people no longer trust this government and protest is our only weapon left."
The Prime Minister - who did not attend the debate which voted to ban hunting with dogs from next July - and senior cabinet ministers are believed to be deeply shocked at the violent reaction to the ban, both inside parliament and amongst the huge crowd outside.
It is widely accepted that the ban was postponed until next summer because a general election is on the cards for May. The Prime Minister had hoped that, by putting off immediate action, the hunting bill would not become a major factor in the election campaign.
However, the virulence of yesterday's protest - when police are said to have drawn truncheons to attack until-then peaceful protestors - is likely to grow even stronger at dozens of future demos, which will force it to become a major election issue.
The Countryside Alliance is saying that many of their supporters are in fact not hunting people but ordinary country folk who are disgusted that traditional freedoms are being curtailed as a sop to the left wing of the Labour Party.
- For our country commentator's pungent views on this issue, please see A Week in the Country. We welcome your views, whether for or against hunting, so please Have your say.