JAMES GRAY, shadow DEFRA minister, has accused the government of being ignorant and prejudiced because of its intention to ban hunting with dogs.

At a Countryside Alliance fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference he described the government as ‘corrupt‘ and ‘tyrannical‘.

“This is an illiberal, ignorant and prejudiced government who could not care less about animal welfare and are more concerned about stopping people in red coats going out and enjoying themselves,” said Mr Gray.

He produced a letter he had received from Douglas Batchelor, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports.

The letter stated that said it was LACS‘s intention to see fox hunting banned because it was enjoyed by those who took part and that they should not be allowed to do so.

Mr Gray went on to criticise the lack of parliamentary time given to the reading of the Bill, which didn‘t allow for any debate or discussion.

“They‘re not interested in animal welfare, it‘s about class warfare and revenge for Thatcherite reforms,” claimed Mr Gray.

John Swift, chairman of the BASC, and Peter Obourne, a journalist from The Spectator, also attended the meeting.

Mr Obourne praised the CA for their hard work and tactfulness in raising the profile of the hunting debate and highlighting the “prejudiced and bigoted” opinion in the Labour Party.

He described the hunting bill as “the most totalitarian controls placed on free people since war time controls”.

Mr Swift applauded the hard work of the CA in what he called “desperate times” and said that the BASC would continue to work together to represent countryside pursuits.