Hunting row hides real rural issues

30 July 1999

‘Hunting row hides real rural issues’

By Mike Stones

ARGUMENTS about foxhunting were obscuring real issues which affected country people, claimed Paddy Pipping, Labour MP for Sherwood, today.

“The big issues are jobs, transport and services in the countryside.

“I dont want to see attention diverted into discussions about hunting with dogs and public access,” he told a seminar this morning at the CLA Game Fair. at Harewood House in Yorkshire.

Mr Pipping denied that the government had firm resolutions to ban hunting with dogs. No ban would be introduced without a free vote in the House of Commons.

“Despite media speculation, the government position on hunting with dogs has not changed. We remain committed, during the lifetime of this parliament, to giving MPs another opportunity to look at legislation on hunting with dogs,” he said.

Mr Pipping noted that new sports minister, Kate Hoey, argued strongly in support of foxhunting at last years Labour Party conference.

Labour peer and president of the Countryside Alliance Baroness Ann Mallalieu hoped Ms Hoey would speak up for foxhunting and equine pursuits in general. “I have seen Kate ride … and I think shes the person to do it,” said Baroness Mallalieu.

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