The campaign to repeal the fox-hunting ban has gained momentum, as the Conservative Environment Secretary Liz Truss offered her wholehearted support and the pro-hunting group Vote-OK was found to be backing another MP.
A week after David Cameron promised to hold a parliamentary vote on repealing the fox-hunting ban that is unpopular among many Tories, Ms Truss said it never should have been introduced in the first place.
“The Hunting Act was a mistake, and I strongly support repeal… I completely agree that hunting is important for rural communities. It is traditional and part of the fabric of our countryside,” she told Parliament yesterday.
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
1/6 Settled Silvers
These are the comfortably-off over-60s, still in work or drawing a decent pension – or both – who are enjoying their entitlements such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence. They are worried about immigration and Europe. Both the Conservatives – who are pledging to keep benefits for wealthier pensioners – and Ukip want their votes
2/6 Squeezed Semis
Slightly older than the Harassed Hipsters, they are the second key group for Labour’s family-focused election strategy. They are married couples on low to middle incomes who own unpretentious semi-detached homes in suburban areas. In 2001, these were the Pebbledash People sought by the Conservatives. Now the pebbledash is gone and a modest conservatory has been built at the back
3/6 Aldi Woman
In 1997 and 2001 she was Worcester Woman – a middle-class Middle Englander shopping at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Today, the age of austerity means she still goes to Waitrose for her basic food shop but cannily switches to Aldi for her luxury bargains such as Parma ham and prosecco. Identified by Caroline Flint, she is a key target of both Labour and the Conservatives
4/6 Glass Ceiling Woman
In her thirties or forties, she has an established career under her belt, perhaps in the “marzipan layer” – one position below the still male-dominated senior executive level. She is now, according to Nick Clegg, forced into making the “heart-breaking choice” between staying at home to bring up her children and going to work and forking out for high-cost, round-the-clock childcare
5/6 Harassed Hipsters
One of the two key groups identified by Labour as crucial to hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street. Well-paid professional couples, often with children, they live in diverse urban and metropolitan areas rather than the suburbs. More comfortably off than most swing voters, they are time poor – struggling to balance raising a young family with busy work schedules
These are mainly first-time voters, though some are in their twenties – students and digital-age generation renters helping to fuel the “Green Surge”. Idealists, but with no tribal loyalty to any party, they are anti-austerity, middle class, living in urban areas. Despite studying at university or recently graduated, they are struggling to find decent jobs and want cheaper housing and a higher minimum wage
As head of the government department responsible for animal welfare and Hunting Act policy, Ms Truss’ opinion will carry a lot of weight in the debates leading up to the vote to overturn the ban.
Meanwhile, the Conservative MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord, was revealed yesterday as the latest in a series of politicians using the services of Vote-OK, a group fronted by Otis Ferry that provides volunteers to leaflet and canvas on the understanding they will vote to repeal the hunting act. Mr Offord holds the UK’s seventh most marginal seat, winning by just 106 votes at the last general election.
“I think it is well known that Conservative activists are travelling around the country helping in marginal seats. Among that number are people who support specific pieces of legislation but I am not responsible for their views,” Mr Offord told The Independent.
“I have not told anyone that if they assist in my campaign I will support any piece of legislation… my voting record shows that I am independently minded. What I am not prepared to say is who and how many people are assisting my campaign,” he added.
Labour reacted angrily to the growing Conservative campaign to repeal their hunting ban, which came into force in 2005.
Shadow Environment Secretary, Maria Eagle, criticised Ms Truss for her opposition to the ban.
“With Britain facing a cost-of-living crisis because of his failing plan, David Cameron’s continued focus on fox hunting shows how out of touch he is,” she said.Reuse content