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Theresa May Wants To Overturn Fox Hunting Ban: Here's Which MPs Might Vote In Favour

Recent attempts to repeal the ban have failed.

10/05/2017 17:23

This week Theresa May confirmed she would allow a free vote in Parliament to repeal the fox hunting ban after revealing she has “always been in favour” of it.

Yet just how successful a vote would be for the Prime Minister and her supporters remains in doubt.

Recent attempts to repeal the Hunting Act have failed.

David Cameron’s 2015 bid to bring back fox hunting was scuppered by the SNP in Westminster, leading to an embarrassing climbdown.

In the previous Parliament, which dissolved last week, May would have had a difficult time securing the votes required to repeal the act.

Excluding the SNP, there are 293 MPs who would vote to keep the Hunting Ban, compared to 254, according to analysis by Protect Our Wild Animals.

The most recent election polls show the Tories extending their lead over Labour, with the Tories at 47% against the Opposition party at 28%. 

Although a landslide victory could give May the numbers she needs to repeal the act, a poll last year showed that fox hunting is growing increasingly unpopular among Conservative voters.

PA Archive/PA Images
The Avon Vale hunt makes its way to the village of Laycock, Wiltshire on the traditional Boxing Day meet.

The Conservatives’ 2010 and 2015 manifestos included an election promise to offer Parliament a vote to repeal the Hunting Act.

But as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, campaigners say that there are more important issues to tackle than revoking the Hunting Act.

Eduardo Gonçalves, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, told HuffPost UK earlier this year: “Being pro-hunting is no longer part of the Conservative DNA in the same way it has been in previous generations.”

The Hunting Act 2004, which came into effect the following year, has been lauded by the League Against Cruel Sports as a “milestone law because it said for the first time that chasing and killing animals for sport was cruel and wrong”.

Many MPs currently sitting in Parliament have never voted on the issue.

The last vote was when the Hunting Act was passed in 2004.

Although many voted along party lines, there were a number of rebels who turned against the majority in their party.

Among those to vote in favour of the ban were Tories David Amess and Roger Gale, who are both patrons of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting, also known as Blue Fox.

Public Whip
Rebel voters: 'Aye' means the MP voted for the Hunting Ban and 'no' means they voted against it

Speaking to HuffPost UK earlier this year, Amess said that any attempt to repeal the Act “would not have a chance of getting through the Commons”.

He said: “For years and years there were only between four and six Conservatives against fox hunting.

“That’s transformed. I think there are now at least 60 of my colleagues, perhaps even more.”

Using data from They Work For You, comments from MPs and analysis from Protect Our Wild Animals, we reveal how key political figures are likely to vote if repeal is put to Parliament.

Party leaders

Theresa May, Conservative - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party - Would vote against a repeal of the hunting ban

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats - Has said he would only vote to repeal the Hunting Act “if we can replace (it) with stronger and more comprehensive legilsation”

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party - Would vote against a repeal of the hunting ban 

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Theresa May has 'always been in favour' of fox hunting

Cabinet Ministers

Philip Hammond, Chancellor - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Amber Rudd, Home Secretary - Has said she would vote in favour of repealing the Hunting Act

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Elizabeth Truss, Justice Secretary - Has said she wants to repeal the hunting ban

Justine Greening, Education Secretary - Her position is unclear

David Davis, Brexit Secretary - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Liam Fox, Trade Secretary - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Greg Clark, Business Secretary - Has said he would would vote in favour of repealing the Hunting Act

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary - Unclear how he would vote personally, but has championed allowing a free vote on fox hunting

Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary - Has said she would vote in favour of repealing the Hunting Act 

Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary - Has spoken out in favour of repealing the Hunting Act.

Damian Green, Work and Pensions - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

Sajid Javid, Communities and Local Government Secretary - Unclear how he would vote, but analysis has suggested he would be in favour of repealing the ban

Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development - She has never stated her position publicly

David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland - Has spoken out against the hunting ban

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales - Has spoken out in favour of hunting

James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - Reportedly said he would vote against a repeal of the Hunting Act

David Lidington, Leader of the House of Commons - Consistently voted against the hunting ban

PA Archive/PA Images
Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary, said last year she would vote in favour of repealing the Hunting Act 'in the interest of animal welfare'.

Shadow Cabinet Ministers

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Nia Griffith, Shadow Defence Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Richard Burgon, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor - Would vote against repealing the ban

Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Barry Gardiner, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business - Would vote against repealing the ban

Jon Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Andy McDonald, Shadow Transport Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Teresa Pearce, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - Would vote against repealing the ban

John Healey, Shadow Housing Secretary - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Valerie Vaz, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons - Would vote against repealing the ban

Jon Trickett, Shadow Lord President of the Council - Consistently voted for the hunting ban

Dave Anderson, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland - Would vote against repealing the ban

Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales - Would vote against repealing the ban

Sue Hayman, Shadow Environment Secretary - Would vote against repealing the ban

Kate Osamor, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development - Would vote against repealing the ban 

Speaking in Leeds on Tuesday, May said: “This is a situation in which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against.

“As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting, and we maintain our commitment, we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote.

“It would allow Parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this.”

May’s comments came after a leaked email from the chairman of the Council of Hunting Associations, Lord Benjamin Mancroft, revealed hunt masters were being encouraged to “mobilise supporters” and campaign for pro-hunting Conservatives in marginal seats. 

“This is the chance we have been waiting for,” Mancroft wrote, according to the Daily Mirror. 

Following May’s announcement, Conservatives Against Fox Hunting Co-Founder Lorraine Platt said: “It is important that the Prime Minister is aware that there is as much support in the countryside as there is in urban areas for the ban.

“Mrs May risks sacrificing her wider appeal for the sake of appeasing the hunting lobby which further enforces the view that she is out of touch with the majority opinion on this issue.

“It is dispiriting to see the Prime Minister supporting a blood sport which is overwhelmingly opposed by the general public.”

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