Cameron outfoxed by SNP over Hunting Act change

Cameron on the run: The only hunt that the public is likely to support.
Cameron on the run: The only hunt that the public is likely to support.

UPDATE: David Cameron has withdrawn the planned vote on fox hunting from tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Parliamentary schedule. So much for it being a ‘free’ vote – if he can’t win, he’s not going to let it happen. In fact, his tactic deserves further scrutiny so expect another article shortly.

The Scottish National Party will vote against a bid to relax the fox hunting ban in England and Wales, according to their Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.

David Cameron has been hoping that his announcement of changes, to bring the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland, would make it impossible for the SNP’s 56 MPs to oppose them in a debate and free vote tomorrow (Wednesday).

But the Scottish Nationalists, currently in charge of the Scottish Parliament, said they are considering a review of the existing ban north of the border, amid concerns that it is not strong enough.

In that context, Mr Robertson said, it would be in Scotland’s interest for the existing ban in England and Wales to be maintained.

The current version of the proposals, contained in a Statutory Instrument, would relax the law to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales to protect livestock, game birds and wild birds, while “having regard to the terrain” and provided it is “carried out as efficiently as possible”.

Supporters have claimed it would also allow the removal of diseased or wounded foxes – an assertion that provoked anti-hunt supporter Dr Brian May to denounce them as “lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last week.

Mr Robertson said: “The Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill – and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland’s representation at Westminster second class.

“In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories’ proposals to relax the ban – in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is.”

This is the kind of opposition to the Conservative Government that we need to see.

If the SNP continues in this manner throughout the remainder of the current Parliament, then many of its critics (including This Writer) will be forced to revise their opinion.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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19 Thoughts to “Cameron outfoxed by SNP over Hunting Act change”

  1. aiden mcmahon

    The english want english votes for english laws, when europe overides most, why were irish votes for irish laws ignored and I thought we had to be unified whenever scotland wanted independance, come on tory clowns make your minds up!

    1. Mike Sivier

      Don’t be racist, please.
      The Tories want EVEL, because they think it will give them a stranglehold over English politics, forever. That’s the only reason. Irish votes? Scottish votes? Too little effect on the UK as a whole. England, with more than 80 per cent of the population, takes most of the rest of us with it.

      1. Mike you are quite correct and that is a point I have raised several times myself. Scotland simply do not have the numbers to affect a result against the wishes of English MPs and yet I have never seen that mentioned in the media.

      2. Mike Sivier

        It’s not really about that, because in a UK-wide Parliament, Scottish votes can be allied with English, Welsh and Northern Irish votes – and may defeat the government if Tory backbenchers rebel – as they would over fox hunting, for a topical example.
        No, the danger is that EVEL would mean that English MPs – predominantly Conservative – could dominate the rest of the country because their England-only votes would affect the rest of the country due to the fact that the population of England constitutes about 80 per cent of the UK’s population as a whole. The rest of us would be dragged in the direction these English MPs wanted.

  2. hayfords

    Cameron only pushed the Fox Hunting Amendment Bill to pacify his back benchers. The SNP seem to have fallen into a trap. By saying that they will vote against an English Bill, they have sealed their fate. There will now be an increased appetite for the English votes for English MPs. After that happens Cameron can reintroduce the Fox Bill. He has only postponed the Bill and not cancelled it. It looks like game set and match to Cameron as he has quietened his back benchers for now and will get his English votes bill. The SNP may gloat temporarily, but they will be on the wrong side of history very soon.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Look at the context.
      SNP said it would be wrong to abstain – and in effect, support the relaxation of the law in England – when the reason for that relaxation is to bring it in line with the law in Scotland where they are considering tightening it.
      This is good reasoning. The SNP would be in more trouble with its supporters if it behaved otherwise as this would be two-faced.
      Yes, Cameron will try to push for EVEL, and he’ll use his minions in the right-wing press to make it seem attractive – but we’ll all know that he’s doing it in order to re-legalise the brutal murder of innocent animals for sport.
      In that context, he might not even get his EVEL.

      Oh, and while the SNP are sometimes on the wrong side of history, Cameron’s Tories live there.

      1. Mike is absolutely correct in his statement I also believe that the SNP have taken the right and just course here and is strong opposition combined with Labour.

  3. Good to see, but hard not to feel disheartened that this subject attracts full opposition from other parties, but more serious matters such as cuts to child tax credits doesn’t even draw much opposition from Labour.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’d say the child tax credit cut has attracted a LOT of opposition from Labour – it’s just that none of it came from Harriet Harman.
      I wrote an article about it this morning.
      Also, have you signed Jeremy Corbyn’s petition against the cut?

  4. The SNP have played Cameron at his own game( sneaky slippery git) and trumped him – good for them.

    1. Joan Edington

      You’re right there. Cameron has been out-sneaked. The SNP would probably have abstained on this vote, as has been customary on what they perceive as English-only matters. Cameron relied on this but obviously didn’t foresee the backlash to his “standing orders” suggestion for EVEL. His allowing no meaningful debate or changes by any opposition, let alone the SNP, started it. Using Scotland as the reason for the fox-hunting changes in England sealed his fate.

      I seem to remember posting on this blog a couple of weeks ago that the ideal would be for the SNP to vote against the bill and then change Scotland to be in line with England. It seems to have worked like that so far and I only hope that such a bill will be passed in Scotland to improve Labour’s watered down act. To give Labour their due, though, they did bring in that ban 2 years before England.

  5. Mike I must have put it badly , I meant that Scottish MPs eg. SNP do not have the power of numbers to prevent English MPs ie inclusive of all parties. In essence I agree with what you said ,however the scaremongering effected by Cameron and his mob at the election did affect the way some English people voted. As you say it would take English MPs ( a large number of them) to ally with the SNP to prevent a bill being passed. I am not comfortable at all with what the Tories have come up with. The UK parliament as far as I see has always been controlled by English MPs simply by having the largest majority as England is the largest country by Population. I do not welcome the thought that it would force Bills against any of the UK countries’ beliefs and will.

    1. hayfords

      That is not the way it will work. It is because Scotland has its own parliament without English MPs voting. You could say that laws may be passed in Scotland that are against the will of other countries in the Union. Of course those laws are specifically just for Scotland.

      The same will apply under a new system. The English parliament will be able to pass laws that just affect England without Scottish MPs voting. Wales is included because it does not have a devolved parluament.

      The Speaker will judge which parts of a bill relate to just England, or England and Wales
      An England-only committee stage will consider bills deemed “England-only in their entirety”
      Membership of this committee will reflect the number of MPs each party has in England
      Where sections of legislation relate only to England or England and Wales, agreement of a “Legislative Grand Committee” will be required

      1. Mike Sivier

        There is no English Parliament. In England, there is only the UK Parliament.
        If the Conservative Government wishes there to be an English Parliament, then it should legislate to create one, separate from the UK Parliament. It could be based in Manchester, or Leeds, or York and it would have to have its own elections.
        That would leave the UK Parliament free to discuss UK-only matters.

        Oh, but wait – how many Bills are likely to affect only England when, with 80 per cent of the population and probably an even larger proportion of the economy, everything decided about England affects the other UK countries as a matter of course?

      2. hayfords

        There are plenty of things that affect on England or England/Wales. The fox hunting bill for one and anything that is the English equivalent of laws passed by the Scottish assembly which would then not apply to Scotland.

        One of the advantages in the long run with Scotland being SNP is that a Labour government would be unlikely to be able to get a budget passed without Scottish votes. This would be even more likely when the constituency boundaries are redrawn.

      3. Mike Sivier

        The fox hunting bill? It’s a Statutory Instrument to bring England and Wales in line with Scotland – but Scotland is considering strengthening its anti-fox hunting legislation. Will the SI still seek to bring England and Wales in line with Scotland after this happens (if it does)? If so, that would be something Scottish MPs could support. If not, then clearly they should not.

        Your comment about Scotland being mainly SNP only applies to this Parliament, of course. You don’t know what will happen in the future. Nor do those supporters of the SNP who seek to spread propaganda about Labour being finished north of the border. They don’t know; they’re just trying to manipulate.

        Your comment about constituency boundaries is pertinent. Of course we all know that this is an example of Conservative Party corruption, changing the rules in order to help themselves win.

  6. Mick NOW there it is as I understand it to be! just as you say in your last post.

  7. Just a thought but I do believe that this present Tory Mob is the worst since Thatcher’s lot. Hmmm thinking further Thatcher’s lot did have a couple good MP’s . It is very hard to see any decent amongst this bunch of lying Tories other than perhaps Ken Clarke who’s wife has been very ill and died this month.

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