Cheltenham's Tory MP has been urged by his predecessor to keep a strong hunting ban in place by voting against the government's amendments to the Hunting Act.
When candidates were asked a straight yes/no question at the Trinity church hustings during the election campaign, Conservative Alex Chalk - now the MP - was the only candidate who refused to give a straight answer, stating that ‘it was a free vote’. Our new Tory MP was also actively supported during the campaign by members of the Vale of White Horse Hunt, North Cotswold Hunt and the pro-hunting organisation Vote OK.
Liberal Democrat Martin Horwood voted consistently for animal welfare measures when he was in parliament and in 2009 won the Dods Animal Welfare Champion award amongst parliamentarians.
He said “Alex Chalk dodged this question at the hustings although it was clear he was getting organised support from local hunts. Well now he can't dodge it any longer. It was always clear to me that Cheltenham people wanted to keep a strong hunting ban in place and I would have unequivocally voted these changes down.
“The issue here is animal welfare and whether parliament should be condoning the hunting of live animals for fun. There is no evidence that the law as it stands has wrecked the rural economy as we were warned or that it has prevented the social side of hunting carrying on as before or that these so-called technical changes are needed.”