DEPUTY PRIME minister John Prescott dismissed any hope that the hunting lobby may win a reprieve on the hunting bill in an end-of-conference speech, reports the Daily Telegraph.

He used his speech to tell countyside campaigners they had lost the argument and that they should now “obey the law of the land”. 

He told the Labour Party members that during the week (w/e Oct 1) there had been many protests, some more worthwhile than others. 

He fully supported the campaign of the Jaguar workers whose Coventry plant was facing closure.

But said he had nothing but disdain for pro-hunt supporters who this week took to the streets of Brighton.

“Who could miss the braying people defending hunting with hounds,” he asked delegates.

“How can people who claim to care for the countryside drag dead horses through the streets of the city and call it a legitimate protest? Why do they call it a legitimate protest?”

His message to hunt supporters was blunt: “You live in a democracy. You lost the argument. Now respect what is soon to be the law of the land.”

The pro-hunt lobby had taken heart from Downing Street‘s refusal to give a categorical assurance that it would use the Parliament Act to get a ban if the Lords block the Bill.

But Mr Prescott‘s assurances that it will soon be on the statute book appears to have erased any lingering hope, reports the paper.