Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has admitted he wants to legalise fox hunting in a reported desperate bid to appeal to grassroots Conservatives.
Hunt said it was part of the UK countryside’s “heritage” and should be brought back.
Hunt told the Telegraph: “I don’t hunt myself, it’s not particularly my thing.”
“I think we have to recognise it’s part of the countryside and I think we have to recognise that, in terms of the balance of the countryside, it’s part of our heritage.”
“So personally I’m happy for people to do it.”
Later on 4 July Hunt insisted “the law is not going to change” on fox hunting and “it wouldn’t be my priority as Prime Minister”, as he refused four times to say if he believed fox hunting was “cruel” after repeatedly asked so by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme host.
Hunt said: “My view is a matter of public record.”
Many were swift to condemn Hunt’s statement on the gentleman’s sport.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted:
“Labour proudly banned this barbaric practice. This Tory leadership race is going from bad to worse.”
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns of the League Against Cruel Sports, suggested Hunt’s remarks could scupper his chances in a general election.