Labour attacks Tories over 'pro-hunt donation'

Nick Herbert, the shadow Environment Secretary, has received a £5,000 donation from a leading defender of foxhunting. The cash came from the Duke of Norfolk, who recently launched a legal attempt to ban hunt protesters from private estates.

The money was handed over two months ago and declared in the latest Register of Members' Interests. Labour claimed the donation ran counter to rules requiring shadow ministers to avoid any "conflict of interest" that arise from their job. Mary Creagh, the MP for Wakefield, denounced Mr Herbert for being happy to take cash from people wanting a "return to this barbaric sport". Mr Herbert responded: "The idea that our policy or my views on this issue, which are well-known and long-standing, have recently been influenced by any donation is absurd." The Conservatives have promised to provide time for a free vote on repealing the 2004 Hunting Act if they win the election.