Prince Charles secret letters to Tony Blair over fox hunting get information commissioner's green light for publishing

IoC said there was ‘clear and compelling public interest’ in seeing letters

Rachael Revesz
Monday 24 July 2017 10:45
Prince Charles wrote series of confidential letters to Tony Blair, urging him to scrap hunting ban
Prince Charles wrote series of confidential letters to Tony Blair, urging him to scrap hunting ban

The Government is reportedly stalling the release of Prince Charles’ letters to Tony Blair about fox hunting after the Freedom of Information watchdog said they should be published.

Prince Charles lobbied the former Labour prime minister in a series of private letters to scrap the fox hunting ban, and those letters may be revealed to the public.

The news comes two years after the Ministry of State requested “all correspondence and communications” between the Prince and Mr Blair which “in any way referred to hunting and or a ban on hunting and or the impact of hunting and the impact of a ban on the countryside”, as reported by The Daily Mail.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said there was a “clear and compelling public interest” for the letters to be published.

She added that the correspondence “raises legitimate questions about the role of the heir to the throne in a parliamentary democracy and increasingly the role he may play when he succeeds to the throne”.

The Cabinet Office may successfully appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision.

A spokeswoman for Clarence House declined to comment to The Independent.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the Government was "considering the decision of the Information Commissioner’s Office and will respond in due course".

Prince Charles’ views on hunting are well known.

He told a private gathering in 2002: “If the Labour government ever gets around to banning fox hunting, I might as well leave this country and spend the rest of my life skiing.”

Thousands march on Downing St to protest fox hunting

Hunting foxes with dogs was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force the following year.

A decade later, former prime minister David Cameron was pressured to scrap his plan to reintroduce the sport.

Theresa May said on the campaign trail that she had always personally been in favour of fox hunting and would allow a free vote on the issue.

She then scrapped the vote after a backlash.

Theresa May says she supports fox hunting because other ways of killing foxes are 'cruel'

Research by Survation found that 67 per cent of voters in the UK believe that fox hunting should not be made legal, and that half of all voters were “less likely” to opt for pro-hunting political candidates.

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