More than 250,000 people are expected to turn out at Boxing Day meets across the country today, amid renewed calls for the ban on fox hunting to be lifted.
But new analysis of the voting intentions of MPs by the animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports, suggests any attempt to repeal the ban would be fraught with difficulty, with at least 50 Conservative MPs ready to vote against or abstain, and more privately opposed.
The poll, conducted by IPSOS Mori, also suggests that opposition to fox-hunting among the public is slightly higher in rural areas (84 per cent) than urban areas (82 per cent)
The overall average of 83 per cent has risen to an all time high this year, from just 72 per cent in 2008.
One of the MPs on the list of 50, which includes five, representing Yorkshire and the Humber, Stuart Andrew, the MP for Pudsey said he had one of his biggest postbags ever ahead of the summer’s postponed vote on relaxing the ban. Mr Andrew said: “The research suggests that the public are against it and that’s matched by MPs.”
The league’s campaigns director Tom Quinn said “all indicators show that opposition to hunting is increasing. In fact there are now so many anti-hunt Tories that any attempt to repeal the Hunting Act would be doomed to failure.”