UK Government postpones fox hunting changes after SNP stance
Fox hunting issue will now be reconsidered after English votes for English laws comes into effect
The free vote on relaxing fox hunting laws in England and Wales has been postponed until after rules on Scottish MPs voting have been changed.
The UK Government move comes after the SNP said they would break with tradition and vote on an issue which doesn’t affect Scotland “to remind the government how slender their majority is”.
It is thought the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group of rebels would have exceeded the Government’s 12-seat majority.
SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson said he had received “an avalanche of positive emails and messages of support” after pledging to vote on the issue.
Opposition MPs are calling postponement of the relaxation of fox hunting laws a “climbdown”.
However, if the English votes for English laws reform – which is happening through changes to the parliamentary standing orders – is passed, SNP MPs are now unlikely to be able to vote on the matter.
Inverness MP Drew Hendry accused the Prime Minister of “high handed arrogance” for delaying the vote in an interview with the BBC.
"It's a cynical manoeuvre. As a new MP I've come down and endured hours of debate on the Scotland bill - which only affects Scotland - and the changes have been voted down by MPs who've dashed back into the chamber to vote."
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While the overall number of recorded crimes fell from 284 instances in 2014/15 to 261 in 2015/16, the number of crimes involving hunting with dogs rose to its highest in five years