Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Tom Freeman
14 July 2015
Nicola Sturgeon: fox hunting vote to pressure Conservatives

Nicola Sturgeon: fox hunting vote to pressure Conservatives

The SNP decision to vote against the UK Government’s proposed changes to fox hunting laws in England and Wales is partly to put pressure on its slim majority, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The SNP has decided to vote with Labour against the amendments to the hunting ban, despite their policy of abstaining on votes which do not affect Scotland.

In February she used fox hunting as an example of where the party would not vote.

However, speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning she said she had changed her mind, given public opinion across the UK against the relaxation of the ban and the opportunity to put pressure on the Government’s 12-seat majority.

"Since the election, David Cameron’s government has shown very little respect to the mandate that Scottish MPs have. On the Scotland Bill, reasonable amendments backed by the overwhelming majority of Scottish MPs have been voted down," she said.

"So, I think if there’s an opportunity – as there appears to be here – and on an issue where David Cameron appears to be out of touch with majority English opinion as well, to actually remind the government how slender their majority is.”

Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox told the programme called the move a “toxic mixture of opportunism and hypocrisy”, claiming the Government had been “thoughtful and constructive” with its plans to introduce English votes for English laws.

Government proposals would see fox hunting in England and Wales given parity in Scotland, where an unlimited number of dogs can be used to flush out a fox so that a farmer or landowner can shoot it.

Explaining the decision to vote against, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said:

"We totally oppose fox hunting, and when there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top