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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 September, 2004, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Hain at party conference after demo
Pro-hunt protest
The protesters agreed to leave Mr Hain's house at 1400 BST
Leader of the Commons Peter Hain MP is attending the first day of the Labour Party conference following a demonstration by hunt supporters outside his home.

More than 100 people gathered at the Neath MP's home on Saturday.

The protesters initially said they wanted to stop the Neath MP travelling to the Labour conference in Brighton but dispersed at 1400 BST.

Police said the protest ended peacefully and no arrests were made.

The protest was one of a number to have been held around the country following the recent House of Commons vote to ban fox hunting.

Peter Hain
I believe in the right to protest. Others may take their own view about invading a person's home and switching their water off
Peter Hain, MP

Peter Hain was one of the 339 MPs who voted in favour of a ban.

Protesters, who cut off the water supply to Mr Hain's house, initially refused to talk to the MP but later changed their minds and four of them talked to him on his driveway.

Mr Hain said he had been shocked to find protesters banging on his front door.

"My wife was quite worried about it."

However the protest had not delayed his travel plans for the party conference, he told reporters.

"I am not worried about my schedule, at any time I could have left. I didn't want to go barging through them."

'Majority'

Mr Hain added he had chosen to remain and speak to protesters and had discussed the UK government's initial plans to create a licensing system for hunting, which was rejected by the House of Lords.

"I believe in the right to protest. Others may take their own view about invading a person's home and switching their water off," he said.

"They have expressed their own view, my opinion is that the majority of Labour voters support a ban against hunting.

Mr Hain has had a clear message about how strongly people feel
Darren Hughes

"I do not think they are speaking for a majority of Labour voters."

John O'Shea, a retired factory worker from Merthyr, who got up at 0400 BST on Saturday to join other demonstrators, said it was the working-class who hunted, not just "a gentleman in a red coat".

He was dissatisfied with Mr Hain's response after meeting him in his driveway.

"I will only be satisfied when there is no ban on hunting.

"He had never realised that there was such feeling about this issue."

He added Mr Hain had been surprised by the amount of working-class protesters at his home.

Another protester added: "It's not been unknown for Mr Hain to break the law when he thinks the cause deserves it."

Darren Hughes from the Countryside Alliance said further protests were planned for the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

"Mr Hain has had a clear message about how strongly people feel. Only time will tell whether he listens."

"We will be calling ministers to account."


SEE ALSO:
Pro-hunt demo at Hain's home
25 Sep 04  |  South West Wales
Hunt supporters step up protests
25 Sep 04  |  Politics
Timeline: Hunting row
09 Sep 04  |  Politics


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