Tories pledge vote to overturn hunting ban

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The Independent Online

David Cameron today reiterated his determination to hold a Commons vote on overturning the hunting ban if the Conservatives are elected.

There have been loud anti-hunting protests outside the party's annual conference in Manchester, but Mr Cameron said the ban had been a "farce" since it came into effect in 2005.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that MPs would be allowed a free vote on the issue, adding: "That's what democracy is all about."

Mr Cameron also told the programme he had been brought up in the country and had been hunting in the past, but not for "several years".

Asked whether the Tories would seek to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs, Mr Cameron said: "If you have a new election and a new House of Commons, we will have a vote - but it will be a free vote because this is a conscience issue, and anyone who cares about this issue should talk to their Member of Parliament and join the great public debate about it."

He went on: "Personally I think the hunting ban has been a farce. I don't think it works, I think it wastes a huge amount of police time and I think we should have a free vote in a new House of Commons to see whether we want to continue with it - that's what democracy is all about."

And he added: "For someone who feels passionately that it should be banned, I would just argue that there are some areas where when you take the criminal law into that area it makes the law a mess, it makes the law a bit of a farce, and I think the hunting ban is a good example of that."