PRO-HUNTING groups are under orders to get behind Tory candidates in marginal seats in a bid to get the hunting ban overturned.
Hundreds of hunt supporters are alleged to be campaigning to secure a Conservative win after David Cameron announced he wouldrepeal the hunting ban and give MPs a free vote on the controversial issue.
Documents seen by a national newspaper claim the North Lonsdale Foxhounds have been directed to back Barrow and Furness Tory hopeful John Gough. A hunt newsletter described plans as “well advanced”.
But group member Alison Bolt said the organisation as a whole was not involved.
She said: “It is not a major organised thing. I personally would be very pleased if the Tories got in as it is believed they would repeal. It is a ridiculous law anyway. We are lending a hand but it is not as an organisation. North Lonsdale Foxhounds are not involved. Some individuals are, which is rather different.”
The hunting ban came into force in February 2005, which made it illegal to hunt with hounds.
Despite it being illegal, thousands have turned out on Boxing Day for the big meets to show their support for the blood sport.
Mr Gough said: “I get support from lots of different groups and the pro-hunting lobby want a return to a Tory government and I am very happy for their support, they are one of a number of groups where individuals help me distribute leaflets.
“I think the hunting ban was a bad law for political reasons and needs to be looked at again.
“I support the party’s position that we would have a free vote on hunting.”
North West Hunt Saboteurs spokesman Paul Timpson said they would urge people to vote for any other party apart from the Conservatives.
Mr Timpson said: “Sadly Cumbria is one of the areas where hunting is still happening despite the ban. We do not want this law overturned and cruelty reintroduced as David Cameron wants.”
Labour candidate John Woodcock said: “This shows that for all their talk of change, Cameron’s Conservatives are still the same old Tories hell-bent on turning the clock back to suit a minority of people stuck in the past.
“While Labour is determined to win here for jobs, the Tories are planning to flood the constituency with huntsmen so they can bring back fox hunting.
“My view on this is clear – hunting with hounds is a barbaric practice that has no place in Britain’s future. But what alarms me most is that the Tories think a parliamentary vote to return to hunting should be their priority when there is so much else that needs sorted out.
“I hope the Tory who wants to be our MP will join me in saying no to a return to fox hunting and this waste of parliamentary time.”