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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 10:22 GMT
MP hit with eggs in hunt debate
Dan Norris in Badminton - SOUTH WEST NEWS
Mr Norris was confronted by an angry crowd and was hit with eggs
A Labour MP has been pelted with eggs and claims a member of his staff was punched during a debate on hunting.

The attack on Wansdyke MP Dan Norris happened just before he did a TV interview at Badminton, Gloucs, near the home of the Beaufort Hunt.

Mr Norris told BBC News that the person who threw the eggs "had been drinking" and that "this was a few hot heads".

The Countryside Alliance has denied a member of his staff was punched. Police are currently investigating.

Mr Norris, who has previously spoken in favour of the ban, said the behaviour "clearly was not acceptable".

The incident in Badminton came on the eve of the ban coming into force.

'Hot heads'

"This was drink, I'm afraid, talking. Passions are high about this issue," he added.

"It is unfortunate because I don't think these hot heads are typical of the behaviour I have seen from the pro-hunt lobby.

He's here to gloat he's right ... and I think that stinks.
Captain Ian Farquhar, Beaufort Hunt

"It's a great shame because I don't think they do their cause any good, and they let their side down."

Captain Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, said he could "understand" why people were angry.

"I don't condone violence, and I don't condone what has happened.

"He's come out of his constituency and he's the one that's pushed though this bill which will put people out of work.

"He's here to gloat he's right ... and I think that stinks."

'Asking for it'

A spokeswoman for the Beaufort hunt added: "How dare this man come to our village. He has just ruined the villagers' lives.

"Why come to Badminton, which has been the home of the Beaufort hounds since 1650, to gloat about what he and his fellow backbenchers have achieved?"

She added: "I think he was asking for it."

The spokeswoman said the action "was definitely not from a drunken minority".

The police were called to the incident, and have taken witness statements.

Mr Norris said his 37-year-old assistant was bruised and "shaken" after being hit, but did not need treatment.

He added that he did not want to press charges.

Avon and Somerset Police said: "No formal complaint has been made to us although we are still investigating. We believe some cream was thrown."

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance denied any punches were thrown at Mr Norris's assistant.


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