Put hunting to public vote now, says UKIP

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The public should be given the say on foxhunting now rather than waiting for the promised Commons vote on repealing the ban, according to the UK Independence Party.

UKIP says holding referendums would be a “more democratic” way of finally resolving the issue.

The Prime Minister recently reaffirmed his commitment to holding a free vote.

But it is unlikely one will be held this year, or even the next and there is uncertainty whether the ban would be overturned, given the lack of appetite in the Commons – including among some Tories – for a change.

Jane Collins, constituency manager for UKIP in north Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, said: “This has come to the fore as David Cameron said he was going to push for a free vote to repeal the ban, but he knows which way it is going to go because of the Liberal Democrats. Why couldn’t we have a national referendum, but run countywide to try and sort this out? I think we would win referenda – I am not sure we would win a free vote.”

Mrs Collins, who took up hunting when she was just three years old, said over 200 hunts in the country were employing 16,000 people directly and indirectly. “With the employment figures as they are it is ludicrous to put them under pressure,” she added.

However Chairman of Beverley and Holderness Labour Party George McManus said the idea showed how “detached UKIP were from reality”.

He said: “People in the countryside are worried about jobs, affordable housing, fuel poverty. These are the real issues which are affecting people in the countryside. The process for a referendum would be very similar to a police commissioner and if held countrywide would cost around the same as a general election, some £120m.”

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