UPDATE: David Cameron has withdrawn the planned vote on fox hunting from tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Parliamentary schedule.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.
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