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British PM rules out return of foxhunting in Britain | Updated: 2018-01-08 09:00
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in this photograph received via the BBC, in her Maidenhead constituency in Britain January 6, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British Prime Minister Theresa May Sunday ruled out a change in the law that would have seen the return of the countryside sport of fox hunting.

May confirmed in a television interview that there will be no vote on the issue during the current parliament which runs until 2022.

In the election campaign ahead of the snap election last June, the prime minister indicated she would allow Conservative MPs a free vote on whether to bring back fox hunting.

The ban was introduced in 2004 by the Labour government of former prime minister Tony Blair. The Hunting Act banned the use of dogs to hunt foxes and wild mammals in England and Wales, in 2004.

The issue has divided opinions, mainly pitching townspeople who oppose hunting and the rural community where support for hunting is strong.

May told Andrew Marr on his weekly television political program Mrs May that there was a clear message against fox hunting from the public.

May, who has stated in the past that she supported fox-hunting, said her own personal view had not changed, adding that she herself had never engaged in fox hunting.

May added: "As prime minister my job isn't just about what I think about something, it's actually about looking at what the view of the country is. I think there was a clear message about that and that's why I say there won't be a vote on fox-hunting during this parliament."

Around 800,000 people signed a petition in 2017 calling for the ban to stay in force. Meanwhile opinion polls have shown around three-quarters or people in Britain are against bringing back bloodsports.

May's announcement was welcomed by the League Against Cruel Sports, while supporters of foxhunting accused May of making a u-turn on her election pledge.

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