Warning to Cameron – Tory voters back hunting ban

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The majority of Conservative Party supporters back the ban on fox hunting and do not want the Hunting Act repealed, according to a new poll published today – views that are in direct opposition to leader David Cameron’s pro-hunting stance.

The poll by Ipsos MORI was conducted on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). It shows that twice as many Tory supporters favour the ban as want it repealed. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they want to retain the Hunting Act, with just three in ten (30%) wanting to repeal it.

The poll, published on the day of David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, shows overwhelming public support for the ban with 75% in favour and only 16% wanting repeal. (The remaining 9% say ‘don’t know’). Support for the ban has risen by two percentage points since the last poll in February 2008 (73% to 75%). There has also been a marked decrease in support for abolition of the ban, down from 22% to 16%.

The Conservative leader has indicated he would support a repeal of the Act and has pledged a free vote on the issue.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “David Cameron is an astute politician and will see that the overwhelming majority of voters do not want a return to the past.  The balance of opinion is clear among voters across the political spectrum. He must make it clear to the dinosaur element within his Party that the will of the public cannot be ignored.”

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “This poll shows that Cameron is completely out of step with public opinion including the majority of his own would-be supporters. Cameron would be wise to listen to the views of the compassionate majority of British people and to rethink his pledge to bring back the cruelty of hunting.”

The polling also shows that seven out of ten people in rural areas (71%) do not think hunting should be made legal again. Mr Marsland added: “This exposes the fallacy of the pro-hunt lobby's claims that hunting is polarised by a rural / urban divide."

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