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Environment secretary and Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss calls for fox hunting ban ‘mistake’ to be overturned

PUBLISHED: 22:28 29 September 2014 | UPDATED: 22:28 29 September 2014

Elizabeth Truss, Environment Secretary and South West Norfolk MP, re-opens the debate over fox hunting

Elizabeth Truss, Environment Secretary and South West Norfolk MP, re-opens the debate over fox hunting

© Archant Norfolk 2014

The government’s new environment secretary has reopened the debate over the fox hunting ban by calling for the legislation to be overturned.

Elizabeth Truss, who is also South West Norfolk MP, said she believed that the hunting ban, which came into force in 2005, was a “mistake”.

However, the secretary of state for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said there was little chance of a Commons vote on a repeal of the Hunting Act before the general election.

The Conservatives had pledged a free vote on the matter after promising to lift the fox hunting ban in their manifesto for the 2010 general election.

But Ms Truss, who was promoted to the role of environment secretary by the Prime Minister in July during a cabinet reshuffle, said the party planned to delay the vote until after the May election.

Speaking ahead of the Conservative party conference, she told the Sunday Express: “Fox hunting has always been a matter for a free vote.

“I personally would vote in favour of allowing fox hunting. I think it was a mistake, the Hunting Act, and I would vote for a repeal.

“We need to make sure that we have the votes to be able to do that. We have said we will put it before Parliament when time allows.”

Ms Truss is not the first Norfolk MP to speak against the fox hunting ban.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has called for a special parliamentary committee to review the impact of the 2004 Hunting Act.

Speaking in 2011, he said hunting was “enmeshed” in the history of Norfolk.

“All the anecdotal evidence is that the ban is bad for animal welfare, bad for the countryside, bad for the rural economy and a waste of police resources.

“Let’s look at the evidence properly so we can decide on repeal on the basis of the facts rather than political bigotry and class war against the countryside,” he said.

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