Lib Dem Conference: Party split on fox-hunting

BLOOD SPORTS

A SPLIT over fox-hunting opened up after Jackie Ballard attacked the party's policy as "daft" for allowing MPs a free vote in the Commons.

The leadership has insisted MPs be allowed a conscience vote. Party peers are also split on how to vote if the Government carries out Tony Blair's pledge to introduce a ban.

Ms Ballard weighed into the dispute after her fellow MP Lembit Opik, a leader of the Middle Way group on blood sports, put forward compromise proposals to allow foxhunting to continue under licence. "We have a party manifesto commitment to ban hunting with hounds. But we had a bit of a sop to one of our MPs and wrote in a sentence that said that MPs could have freedom of conscience when voting on it, which I always thought was a daft thing to do," she said.

Hunting with hounds was torture, she added.

"As Liberals we are concerned about other life on this planet, not just human beings. If that is the analysis and the policy is that we should ban it, it is not a matter of conscience, it is a matter of policy. I disagree with giving MPs that get-out."

The cross-party Middle Way campaign, supported by Kate Hoey until she became a minister, the Labour MP Llin Golding and Tory MP Peter Luff, is proposing the creation of an independent body to license hunts with powers to impose penalties for breaking codes of practice.

Passions raised by the campaign to ban hunting were highlighted by a stand at theconference manned by the League Against Cruel Sports depicting a huntsman lying in a bath of blood, laughing at blood sports. The league is taking its display to Labour's conference next week.

Labour is braced for protests in Bournemouth, with the Countryside Commission planning to bus in 16,000 hunt supporters to a rally to coincide with Mr Blair's keynote speech. Police have been told that the British National Party and anarchists behind last month's City of London protest plan to provoke violence outside the conference.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam