THE COUNTRYSIDE Alliance has not agreed a “deal” with the attorney general to postpone the introduction of the hunting ban on Feb 18, contrary to media reports over Christmas.

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, had previously told a national newspaper that he would not oppose “any application from the Countryside Alliance for an injunction postponing the implementation of the hunting ban until the courts have ruled on its legality”. However, further reports of a “deal” have since been denied by the alliance.

While the CA has welcomed the attorney general”s admission, it intends to continue with its long-planned legal challenge to the Parliament Act 1949 in the High Court on Jan 25 and 26.

However, should this challenge fail, then the alliance will immediately apply for an injunction pending appeal. At about the same time it will launch its challenge under the Human Rights Act at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Describing the overwhelming level of support that the CA has received since the Hunting Bill was re-introduced to Parliament on Sept 15, Simon Hart, chief executive of the CA, said: “We had prepared carefully and prepared well and the reaction of the rural community has come as a shock to those who did not understand the depth of our commitment.”