22 June 2001

March could still be on

THE Countryside Alliance has warned it could resurrect its plans for the Countryside March following the inclusion of a free vote on hunting with dogs in the Queens speech.

John Jackson, alliance chairman, said any action would depend on the form of a Bill when it was finally introduced. No details of what MPs will be asked to vote on have been released.

If the government brought forward legislation to ban hunting a massive civil liberties march in London and a determined campaign against a ban would be a "racing certainty", said Mr Jackson.

But if the free vote process marked the start of attempts by the government to find a workable solution then the alliance would do all it could to help resolve the issue.

A statement released by Downing Street said hunting was an issue that aroused strong passions among people on both sides of the argument so was rightly a free vote issue. &#42