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Sunday, September 12, 1999 Published at 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK


Anti-hunt lobby targets Hague

Filibustering has delayed moves to ban fox hunts

Anti-hunt campaigners have completed a 24-hour protest outside the home of Conservative leader William Hague.

Fox hunting
They are now moving on to their next target, Penrith and Borders MP David MacLean, where they will stage a similar demonstration on Monday.

Three National Anti-Hunt Campaign protesters went without food until noon on Sunday outside Mr Hague's home in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

It was the latest round of a national offensive against MPs, who anti-hunt campaigners consider to be blocking moves to ban fox hunting.

[ image: Attack on William Hague's opposition to hunting ban]
Attack on William Hague's opposition to hunting ban
North Yorkshire Police said they had monitored the protest and that it had passed without incident.

Supporters of the campaign are hoping a series of high profile events will help convince the government to include a proposal to ban hunting in November's Queen's Speech.

Last year, a record 260 MPs backed Labour MP Mike Foster's Wild Mammals (Hunting with dogs) Bill, but filibustering tactics prevented it from becoming law.

Others in a select group of 14 MPs to be targeted in the demonstration campaign include sports minister Kate Hoey, parliamentary spokesman for the Countryside Alliance Peter Atkinson, and Mr Blair himself.

Downing Street vigil

National Anti-Hunt Campaign spokesman Niel Hansen said while the group welcomed a pledge by Tony Blair to ban fox hunting, but added that the prime minister had been "saying the same thing for two years".

"We are drawing attention to the tiny minority of MPs who have so far prevented anti-hunt legislation from reaching the statute book," he said.

[ image: Pro-hunt lobby is equally vociferous]
Pro-hunt lobby is equally vociferous
"Mr Hague has spoken at pro-hunt demonstrations and has repeatedly said he is opposed to a ban on hunting with hounds.

"He has done nothing to condemn or prevent the actions of those in his party who used antiquated and anti-democratic tactics to 'talk out' Mike Foster's bill.

"It is for the government to put its words into action and show that this abuse of the democratic system will not be tolerated and that the wishes of the British people and parliament will prevail."

Earlier this month campaigners took their protest to Downing Street, staging a mock funeral and vigil.

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