Ricky Gervais has joined a host of prominent voices condemning fox hunting, calling it a practice that allows a "gang of thugs" to rip an animal apart just because they are "posh".
David Cameron is allowing a free vote on the Hunting Act next week, which will permit the Government to make significant changes after just 90 minutes' debate on Wednesday.
The changes would make it legal for foxes to be hunted by a pack of hounds for "pest control" purposes – currently the law permits just two hounds can be used to flush out a fox to be shot.
Paul McCartney has also joined the campaign to "keep the ban" and as a petition to stop hunting being legalised in the UK has garnered more than 386,000 signatures, The Beatles singer said the government will lose the support of the nation if fox hunting is reintroduced.
The government's proposed changes could make it almost impossible to prosecute those involved in hunting.
Gervais, a vocal opponent of animal cruelty, has repeatedly advocated keeping the ban and this week said he could not understand why "posh twats" would want to "dress up and chase a fox to watch it ripped apart by dogs".
Imagine if a gang of thugs set a pack of dogs on a terrified animal for a laugh. Now imagine they're posh people on horseback. #KeepTheBan— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 8, 2015
Why would anyone want the right to dress up and chase a fox to watch it ripped apart by dogs? I honestly don't get it. #KeepTheBan— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 9, 2015
@AndrewOrmerod1 Predators kill for food. The posh twats don't eat the fox.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 9, 2015
The writer and director is encouraging his followers to to take a "selfie" to show their support to #KeenTheBan.
On Friday, Sir Paul, waded into the row, condemning the "cruel and unnecessary" sport, which he says will cost the Tory leadership the support of the nation.
The 73-year-old said: "The people of Britain are behind this Tory government on many things but the vast majority of us will be against them if hunting is reintroduced.
"It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself."
Sir Paul and Gervais, 54, joins Dr Brian May in calling for the ban to remain in place.
The Queen guitarist called the Countryside Alliance "a bunch of lying bastards" when he appeared on Thursday's Newsnight.
During the segment, May accused Cameron of underhandedly dismantling the fox hunting ban, describing the prime minister’s move to scrap the limit on the number of hounds used for flushing out foxes "repeal under another name".
Barrington, a welfare consultant for the Countryside Alliance, retorted that Cameron was simply trying to "address exemptions in the act".
“There is no justification for the hunting of foxes on the grounds of control of foxes,” argued May. “They breed them to hunt, it’s all about people… catching foxes for fun, they like causing pain and this is what Cameron is endorsing.“
“This is the way it’s always portrayed,” replied Barrington, “a bunch of sadists going out and killing for fun… this is about wildlife management,” he repeated.
“I’m sorry, bollocks,” shot back May, before showing the savagery of the “sport” with a graphic picture of a fox being flushed out.
“The hunts are a nasty vestige of the last century which should be gone,” said the guitarist.
May then called the "welfare consultant" out, saying: “You’re a bunch of lying bastards.”
Aside from the budget, fox hunting has been dominating conversations at Westminster. As MPs have been allowed a free vote, they can vote with their conscience, rather than under the firm hand of the party whip.
This has seen a host of Conservative ministers defying Cameron's plans, with sports minister, Tracey Crouch, accusing the Prime Minister of trying to bring back fox hunting "via the back door".
While pro-hunt lobby are v happy with plans for vote next Thurs to relax foxhunting legislation via the backdoor, I will be voting against— Tracey Crouch (@tracey_crouch) July 8, 2015
Other MPs have also voiced their opposition to the plans - with noticeably few speaking out in favour of Cameron's proposals,
Brian May right to expose 'pest control myth'.Hunts, including one in my patch, imported foxes to area for 'fun' hunt.http://t.co/TBc9pVcXo7— Paul Flynn (@PaulFlynnMP) July 10, 2015
I support the hunting ban and I will vote against Tory plans to weaken it next week. Killing animals for fun is horrific.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedMP) July 10, 2015
#realitycheck Rural voters far more concerned re broadband, housing, schools, community hospitals & fairer funding than relaxing hunting ban— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) July 9, 2015
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