Former Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner Brian May has accused David Cameron of an "underhand" move to bring back fox hunting and labelled the Countryside Alliance "a bunch of lying bastards" for helping him.
He was joined by fellow guitar legend and Beatles star Paul McCartney, who predicted the government's "cruel and unnecessary" move would lose them support.
The government announced earlier this week that it would give MPs a free vote on amending the current ban on fox hunting. A debate and subsequent vote will be held on Thursday 16 July, but the Prime Minister has faced a backlash from opponents who have accused him of trying to change the law through the back door.
The government will be able to avoid introducing lengthy legislation, which would be subject to months of intense scrutiny in the media and in both Houses of Parliament, and instead usher in significant changes to existing legislation by using a much quicker parliamentary procedure - a statutory instrument - to reform the ban.
It means hunting with dogs could once again be made legal by MPs nodding it through Parliament in a single vote.
The current law permits two hounds to flush out a fox to be shot but the changes would allow particular sorts of hunting for pest-control purposes.
Jim Barrington, a welfare consultant for the Countryside Alliance, rejected the suggestion that the plans would end up repealing the ban.
He told BBC Newsnight: "This is about addressing exemptions in the Act, which were agreed by both sides when the Act was going through, for pest control reasons, for catching a diseased or wounded animal or something like that and they don't work.
"So this is a very quick, sharp measure to allow those things to work."
However his words were pounced upon by Mr May, a fierce campaigner against animal cruelty, who claimed Mr Cameron and the pro-hunting lobby were not just misleading the public but were actively "lying".
Appearing on the same show, he said: "I think it’s a very underhand act I’m afraid, because Cameron for years has promised a free vote – a fair fight on the repeal of the Hunting Act.
"He’s now realised that this probably won’t end up with what he wants so this whole thing has been put together by circumventing the normal democratic process.
"So you introduce a little modification to an Act but this modification actually disables the whole Hunting Act and effectively this is repeal under a new name. I think this is a very Machiavellian and rather inexcusable way of behaving."
He ended his argument by saying: “I believe it’s a pretence. I think you’re a bunch of lying b****ds.”
And Sir Paul backed up his fellow musical legend by predicting that the majority of the public would turn against the Tory government if hunting was brought back.
"The people of Britain are behind this Tory government on many things but the vast majority of us will be against them if hunting is reintroduced," he said.
"It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself."
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
Fox hunting was absent from May’s Queen Speech, leaving opponents hopeful that the Government was reconsidering its manifesto pledge to repeal it.
But the Prime Minister became under mounting pressure from Conservative MPs to swiftly honour the party’s manifesto pledge to hold a free Commons vote on the ban after he won a surprise majority at the election.
The Tories sought to change the law during the last parliament, but the move was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.