Theresa May tells voters she is in favour of fox hunting
Theresa May admits being in favour of blood sports during a Q&A with factory voters
Fox hunting dogs - credit Bethany Egan
Theresa May has said she is in favour of a return of fox hunting.
During a visit to a factory in Leeds in which she was accused of stage-managing questions from journalists, the Prime Minister later also took questions from workers.
During the second event, a reporter from the Mirror asked if she supported fox hunting, a practice banned in England in 2004. It followed more lenient legislation passed in Scotland.
Moves to relax the law last year were dropped after the SNP said they would oppose it.
The Scottish Government is currently looking to strengthen the law in Scotland.
“This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, pro or against,” May told the selected group.
“As it happens, personally I've always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain our commitment to allow a free vote.
“It would allow Parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this."
The Mirror reports hunt associations see the general election as a chance to repeal the ban and are “mobilising”.
Scottish animal protection charity OneKind said it was “appalled” by the statement from May.
Director Harry Huyton said: “The bans were introduced in Holyrood and then Westminster following a lengthy and comprehensive process. Nothing has changed since then. Fox hunting remains cruel, outdated and should have no place in any part of 21st century Britain.”
“This comes at a time when the Scottish Government is reviewing the legislation that applies north of the Border, with a view to strengthening it. This must not be undermined by confusion about the future of hunting in England”
There was only one recorded case of bird of prey being poisoned in 2017, according to the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime
With illegal traps often placed in remote locations, investigators have previously struggled to collect evidence of wrong doing
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
Animal rights concerns have been drowned out with cries of 'fake news'