Fox hunting farce is a warning for the Tories

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The government's small majority has been exposed early in this parliament. The fox hunting farce could be the first of many humiliating defeats for the Conservatives.

Opposition from Labour MPs, the SNP and others, along with a rebellion of backbench Tory MPs, forced the government to drop plans for a vote on bringing back hunting with dogs in England and Wales. When it became clear they could not win, they called the vote off rather than lose.

The whole episode shows just how small a majority of 12 actually is. A handful of rebels and a strong opposition can very quickly land the government in trouble, and this is especially true when they are trying to push through laws that are as deeply unpopular as scrapping the ban on fox hunting.

I received hundreds of emails and letters from residents concerned about this issue, urging me to vote to keep the ban. I have always opposed all blood sports, and I will always vote against any form of repeal or watering down of the hunting ban. I also find it appalling that when there are so many important issues that need dealing with, the government have allowed parliamentary time to be wasted on an attempt to bring back hunting by the back door.

I am sure that the Tories will try again to bring this vote to parliament, and I can assure all of my constituents that whenever the issue comes back before the House of Commons I will be voting to keep the ban.

The events of last week should give us confidence that while our job of opposition will often be difficult and frustrating, the Tories won't necessarily have things all their own way in the next 5 years. My Labour colleagues and I will be doing our best to make sure of that.

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