Hoey heading bid to topple foxhunt ban

Ms Hoey, 55, the Labour MP for Vauxhall since 1989, said she would campaign for the repeal of the ban on foxhunting and oppose any attempt by the League Against Cruel Sports to extend the ban to shooting and fishing.

"The Countryside Alliance membership is growing substantially and it is important to show that people who live in the inner city support its aims," she said.

Touring a game fair at Belvoir Castle with Jim Knight, the Rural Affairs minister, Ms Hoey said she had a flat in the inner city, and did not have a second home in the country.

"At least half of the people who go to game fairs are working-class people. You only have to go to the constituency of Peter Hain [Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland] in Neath to see that.

"I think shooting is going to be the next one in line for groups like the League Against Cruel Sports. I hope many of the new Labour MPs who came into the Commons in May are going to be much more willing to talk to people about these issues.

"Many of the MPs who were elected in 1997 have tied their vote to being supported by the League Against Cruel Sports."

Ms Hoey, who has a reputation for being feisty, was a leading member of the Middle Way group which fought in vain for hunting to be allowed under licence. Brought up with a Unionist background on a farm in Northern Ireland, she has also been a leading critic of Robert Mugabe, and brought back footage of the plight of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe after a recent visit.

The Conservative peer Lord Mancroft is to become deputy chairman of the Countryside Alliance.

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