POLITICS

David Cameron 'Loves Fox Hunting' Says Andrew Marr, Who Then Apologises For Error

21/04/2015 13:00 BST

Andrew Marr has apologised for saying that David Cameron's favourite sport was fox hunting while interviewing him.

Marr was grilling the prime minister over a Tory manifesto pledge to hold a free vote in the Commons on repealing the fox hunting ban introduced by Labour.

The presenter was quoting from an article Cameron had written for the Countryside Alliance magazine but Marr misattributed a quote from an activist who wants to repeal the ban to Cameron. The quote was: "This is the sport that I love and I want to be able to do it legally."

Marr asked if it was "really true" that it was his favourite sport.

Cameron, who said he had not taken part in a fox hunt for "many, many years", said: "No, I'm a believer in country sport... I love walking, I love fishing, I love all sorts of sports."

When asked if he would go on a fox hunt again if it were made legal, Cameron said: "I'm only focussed on one thing Andrew, which is winning this election and serving my country."

Right-leaning magazine The Spectator ran an article on the misattributed quote, saying they had "exposed" a "smear".

Another Twitter user called on the BBC to apologise, prompting Marr to intervene.

Programme editor Rob Burley tweeted it was "regrettable".

In a statement, the BBC said Marr wanted to "explore what the sport means to the prime minister" in light of the manifesto commitment.

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It added: "Andrew referred to a piece in the Countryside Alliance magazine written by the Prime Minister which promised the free vote. Andrew had been given a quote from an article reporting the contents of the piece... The way the piece was written gave the impression that these were Mr Cameron's own words.

"After returning to the original article, we accept that this reading was incorrect and that our error was an honest mistake."