HUNT SUPPORTERS are to target 50 constituencies in a plan to see anti-hunt MPs ousted from office at the next election, reports The Times.
The plan, drawn up by ex-conservative party member and professional lobbyist Jeremy Sweeney, involves recruiting 300 activists for each of the 50 target seats.
Hunt supporters will be urged to help opposition candidates – mainly Conservatives – in the run-up to a general election, expected to be in the Spring.
The areas identified are those with strong hunting communities and where MPs are defending majorities of less than 10%.
The list does not include any members of the cabinet but the campaign could threaten the seats of some high profile MPs.
Public health minister Melanie Johnson, Christopher Leslie, the constitutional affairs minister and Ivor Caplin, the defence minister, could all be affected.
Mr Sweeney said he did not hunt but was willing to fight for those who wished to preserve the right and freedom to do so.
He also believed that as a single-issue campaign, hunting may have an impact during the election.
“Labour does not know how many lurcher and terrier men are seriously unhappy that they might be caught up in the legislation,” Mr Sweeney told the paper.
“The vast majority of hunting is done by men and women with lurchers in the Midlands and not by Lords and Ladies on horseback chasing foxes.”
The Countryside Alliance was quick to distance itself from the campaign for fear of provoking accusations that it is becoming too closely linked with the Conservative Party.
It has made it clear that it has no formal involvement, nor can it allow itself to be directly involved in an election campaign.
“The alliance cannot become directly involved in election campaigns,” said Simon Hart, chief executive of the CA
“But I am sure that people will want to do everything that they can to ensure that the next parliament contains the maximum number of MPs who are prepared to defend their rights and their freedoms.”