7 March 2001
‘Splits threaten hunt compromise’

By FWi staff

SPLITS within the Countryside Alliance are jeopardising a plan to save foxhunting which has ministers backing, reports The Times.

The newspaper says moderate factions in the alliance want to compromise and accept a middle way solution permitting licensed hunts.

Home Secretary Jack Straw and some other ministers favour this idea, but alliance leaders have been warned they face rebellion if they follows this path.

The newspaper says a memo from alliance chairman John Jackson indicates that he would think very carefully if support grew for licensed hunts.

But he warns that hot heads who have accused alliance leaders of being too close to the Government will lose the game for everyone if were not careful.

The Times believes that there are other signs that a compromise is increasingly likely.

Lord Donoughue will this week table a backbench Bill proposing that hunting loses its exemption from laws against cruelty against wild animals.

He believes this could be adopted as part of a middle way solution and has the backing of Lord Burns who chaired the official inquiry on hunting with dogs.