Pro-Hunting Lobby Flex Their Political Muscle Before Knife Edge General Election

Pro-Hunting Lobby Flex Their Political Muscle Before Knife Edge General Election

Britain’s pro-hunting group ‘Vote-OK’ believes its intervention at the 2015 General Election would deliver a win for the Conservatives, according to the Express. The group claimed to have been the decisive factor in 36 Conservative gains at the last election, which if repeated would see David Cameron win an overall majority.

Vote-OK sent 15,000 activists to a variety of marginal seats, in both rural and urban areas. The group is planning to mobilise similar numbers ahead of next years election. George Bowyer, the group’s national director, said: “If the Conservatives won another 36 seats this time that would give them a majority.”

The opinion polls suggest that the result of the election is very close and anything that gives the Conservatives an advantage could be decisive. The group does not support any political party but rather campaigns for individual candidates who pledge to reverse the ban on Fox Hunting.

This has led Conservative backbenchers Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon and former Countryside Alliance boss, Simon Hart MP, to push for the Conservatives to put the repeal of the ban into their manifesto. They are said to be worried that traditional supporters may turn to UKIP unless David Cameron is decisive on the issue.

Although Cameron is widely accepted to be a supporter of the pro-hunting lobby he has so far resisted calls to repeal the ban. However, UKIP leader Nigel Farage is only too happy to publicly declare his desire to bring back hunting. 

Parish warned the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs that unless action was taken the issue would haunt the party in the same away Europe has. He said: “It will be a pivotal issue in a certain number of seats and certainly in many seats in the West Country where in some cases the fight is against Labour and in others against the Lib Dems.

“Vote-OK are very good at putting troops on the ground and delivering leaflets, and that is something Conservative candidates found very helpful at the last general election. We have to be absolutely clear.

“You cannot expect people who support hunting to deliver leaflets if the party does not deliver on policy.”

In 2010 Vote-OK targeted 58 seats of which 36 were won by pro-hunting MPs. They hope an even better score next time will bring them closer still to repealing the act.