I have been responding to a number of emails with regard to my position on hunting with dogs/fox hunting, and I thought it might be helpful to post my response here:

'I do not intend to vote for the repeal of the current fox hunting legislation. Following the very contentious passing of the Act in 2004 there has been some degree of understanding that the law appears settled, with hunts continuing under the terms of the Act. It is not perfect, and there may be some useful amendment, as in any legislation. But a wholesale repeal, and a return to previous practice, risks re-opening a very sad chapter in rural life, with a number of unhappy consequences.

I maintain my support for country sports, and for allowing farmers to ensure that animals which threaten livestock are dealt with effectively and humanely.

But I do not think repealing the fox hunting legislation is the right thing to do.'