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14 July 2015

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.

By Stephen Bush

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. 

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