Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

Fox Hunting

Fox Hunting

Many constituents have been in touch regarding the Tory Party Manifesto promise to repeal the 2004 Hunting Act which banned fox hunting in England and Wales. Whilst there was no mention of it in the recent Queen’s Speech, we cannot guarantee the Government won’t return to it in the coming years given that the Tories remains committed to the repeal.

 

Fox hunting has been banned in Scotland since 2002 and is a devolved issue. Our own Government has no plans to change that. Fox hunting is an archaic and cruel pastime that has no place in a modern society. It is an issue I have campaigned against since I was a teenager and my views have not changed over time. I am completely against it. At a time when animal sports around Europe, such as bullfighting, are being progressively phased out, it seem bizarre for the Tory government to take a step back to the 19th century.

The ban is an important piece of legislation and repealing it would mark out the whole of the UK, including Scotland, in the international community as a state that appears unperturbed by such cruelty to animals.

I should say, however, that contrary to some press reports, the SNP has not taken any position on whether or not to vote on this issue. Although Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that we are opposed to repealing the ban in principle, the Party has yet to commit to a stance as there is no proposed legislation to examine. Whilst SNP MPs have tended not to participate in votes on domestic English/Welsh legislation which doesn't apply to Scotland, the party's Westminster Group will not decide a position on this matter until such time as any proposed legislation can be studied and assessed.

We will, therefore, wait and see. However, I remain of the opinion that the ban must not be overturned. You can see an interview that Angus Robertson gave on the subject here: Sky News Website

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Friday, 22 February 2019

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