Friday, 25 June 2010
Local MPs support Hunting Act
A little while back I wrote a letter to the new MP in this part of Leeds asking if she supported the retention of the 2004 Hunting Act which famously – and some would say controversially - banned the hunting of foxes with dogs. Promises made by the Conservatives to scrap the act in the run up to the general election have thrown its continued existence in doubt, a potential development which those with an interest in animal welfare have long viewed with great alarm. My own opposition to any such move is likely to be well known to regular DR readers.
Rachel Reeves responded extremely quickly; she stated that "I am in favour of the Hunting Act 2004, and indeed see it as a big success under the last Labour government. If the 2004 Act comes up for repeal I will vote strongly to keep it on the statute book."
She also pointed out that as a parliamentary representative for an urban constituency her work in the House has been mainly focused on purely local issues – "public transport, asbestos and the potential impact of cuts" imposed by the Con-Dem coalition government – in the two months or so since the general election, a not unreasonable position for a new Member to take. That the MP for nearby Leeds Central spearheaded the campaign to raise awareness of the threat to the Hunting Act before the election shows that rural affairs can and do interest our urban parliamentarians.
And it’s vital that MPs of all backgrounds take an interest in this issue. It’s perfectly natural and right to focus on matters of the economy given the current financial climate, large cuts in public expenditure and imminent rises in unemployment. But that must not mean that legislation should be introduced – or scrapped – whilst attention is focused elsewhere. Law by stealth is not healthy for anyone.