Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has warned the Conservative leadership contest threatens to turn back the clock on years of hard won progress on animal welfare.

On Wednesday 3rd July, the Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt pledged to bring back fox hunting if he becomes Britain’s next prime minister. He called it an important part of the countryside’s “heritage”.

The ban on hunting foxes and other wild animals was introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2004.

Anna successfully persuaded the current government to adopt her Bill for tougher animal cruelty sentences and this will receive it’s second reading in Parliament next week. However, following Mr Hunt’s comments, Anna fears whoever succeeds Theresa May will try to stall or reverse progress.

She said:

“Labour’s fox hunting ban was a huge leap forward for animal welfare and polls have shown public support for the ban as high as 90%. Hunt’s comments are completely out of touch with our nation of animal lovers and he threatens a return to the barbaric practices of the past.

“I was pleased the current government accepted my bill for tougher animal cruelty sentences which will be another great step forward for animal welfare. But both of Theresa May’s potential successors seem determined to turn back the clock and Hunt’s comments only make that more worrying.

“The public are clear they want protection for animals. I will be doing everything I can to make sure the new PM honours that.”

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