David Cameron to sneak through partial fox-hunting ban repeal

David Cameron is to sneak through a partial repeal of the fox-hunting ban within weeks.

The prime minister is to use a statutory instrument to rush through a relaxation of current laws which prohibit hunts from using packs of hounds to hunt foxes.

Currently hunts can only use two dogs to flush out the animals before shooting them.

The Conservatives had promised to hold a free vote on repealing the hunting ban. Such a vote would require weeks of debate and would probably fail  due to the small size of their majority.

The use of a statutory instrument means the law could be relaxed immediately after the new vote is held next Thursday.

MPs will be given a free vote on the issue. However, Scottish MPs are set to be excluded as the vote has been tabled just one day after they are due to be excluded  from voting on English only legislation.

Animal rights activists today accused the government of sneaking a de facto repeal of the hunting ban in through the back door.

“This is nothing but sneaking hunting in through the back door," Robbie Marsland, League Against Cruel Sports Director, said.

"By amending the Hunting Act like this, the government are deliberately and cynically making it easier for hunts to chase and kill foxes, and harder for them to be convicted when they break the law.  This is not about hunting foxes for pest control. It’s about hunting foxes for fun.

“David Cameron pledged to hold a free vote on bringing back hunting but clearly they know they couldn’t win. So now they are using deception to fool the public.

“What will this change actually mean in reality? It means bringing back hunting, as simple as that."