The fox lives. Photo: Getty Images
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Conservatives abandon plans to relax fox hunting laws

The government has pulled its plans to relax fox hunting laws in the face of opposition from its own backbenchers, Labour and the SNP.

The Conservatives have abandoned plans to relax fox hunting laws in England and Wales after the SNP announced they would vote against the plans, despite fox hunting being a devolved area, and therefore normally an issue on which the nationalists would abstain. 

The SNP's U-Turn, coupled with Labour opposition to the change, and opposition from many Tory MPs, including the sports minister, Tracey Crouch, meant the plans had little chance of passing the House of Commons, forcing the government to back down or risk its first defeat. 

Fox hunting is currently banned throughout the United Kingd0m, but in Scotland, an unlimited number of dogs can be used in "flash hunting", to flush foxes out of cover. In England and Wales just two hounds can be used. The Conservatives' planned law change would have brought England and Wales in line with the United Kingdom. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics. 

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Word of the week: Michellania

Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

After brash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paraded his family at the national convention, the word of the week is:

Michellania (n)

A speech made of words and phrases gathered from different sources, such as Michelle Obama speeches and Rick Astley lyrics.


"I listened hard, but all I heard was michellania."

"Can you really tell the difference between all this michellania?"

"This michellania - you couldn't make it up."

Articles to read if you're sick of michellania:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.