4 December 2000
Alliance denies hunt surrender

By FWi staff

THE Countryside Alliance has dismissed suggestions that it is preparing to give up its campaign to save hunting in return for assistance on other rural issues.

The Guardian newspaper claims that senior Alliance figures agreed the deal during a meeting with a group of Labour backbench MPs.

Alliance “leaders have privately admitted that they will have to accept the will of parliament if there is a vote to ban fox-hunting,” said a front-page story.

Confidential minutes from the meeting revealed that “organisers were prepared to roll over… in return for millions of pounds of new investment in rural Britain.”

The paper added: “They even welched on their strongest supporters – the farmers – by backing the phasing out of billions of pounds of European Union subsidies in return for new investment in farming.”

But the report was dismissed by Richard Burge, Alliance chief executive, who took part in the meeting at the House of Commons last week.

“The Guardians version of events is a mixture of pure fantasy,” he said.

Mr Burge said he expected more attempts to impugn the alliances reputation and motives ahead of the Countryside Alliance march, scheduled for 18 March, 2001.

“It will get more frequent over the coming months – and it will get even dirtier. The only way to confront lies and disinformation is with truth and clarity”.