May 15, 2010
Conservative candidates promised a free vote in Parliament concerning the Hunting Ban if elected. They were. Now what?
Ending thirteen years of a Labour-controlled government, Prime Minister Gordon Brown relinquished his office to David Cameron after voters returned Conservatives to power. The Conservative victory has led pro-hunting Members of Parliament (MPs) to call for an early vote on the contentious issue. They insist that their credibility would be shot if the vote were to be delayed. There’s a hitch, however.
The margin of the Conservative win was so narrow as to force David Cameron to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in order to establish a government and claim his post of Prime Minister. This is the first full coalition government in Britain since World War II. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was named deputy prime minister—a rarely awarded post. Unfortunately for pro-hunting supporters, the Liberal Democrats and their voter base are no fans of foxhunting, or what foxhunting represents to them.
Each side of the debate are girding for battle. The losing Labour Party has organized a “Back the Ban” campaign, while pro-hunting Conservative MPs are pressuring newly-installed Prime Minister Cameron to deliver on Conservative promises.
In light of the “odd couple” coalition, Britain’s economic problems, and their looming debt, it is doubtful that the Hunting Act will achieve the Parliamentary attention pro-hunting supporters yearn for. Many observers doubt that a free vote in Parliament, whether it occurs or not, will overturn the Hunting Act very soon.