NEWLY elected Tory MP for Stroud Neil Carmichael has pledged to vote for a repeal of the fox hunting ban if the issue comes up again in Parliament.

The controversy around fox hunting led to the passing of the Hunting Act 2004 in November of that year after a free vote in the House of Commons which made hunting with dogs unlawful.

MPs voted in favour by 339 votes to 155.

Speaking to the SNJ this week, Mr Carmichael said: “I expect I will vote for the repeal of the fox hunting ban but it is not a top priority. I believe that it is the people’s right to do what they want to do within the law.

“I do not hunt myself but I know people who look after hounds and they are treated very well. There is no evidence that any hounds are treated badly. I do not like any kind of cruelty to animals.

“While I think that it is an issue that people have a right to make their voices heard on I think that we need to concentrate on the state of local school, hospitals, roads and the environment. I have hundreds of letters and emails that get sent to me and a minimal amount concern fox hunting.”

In January animal activists heckled David Cameron when he came to Stroud.

They were protesting against the Conservative manifesto promise to offer a free vote for the repeal of the ban.

Mr Cameron had visited Stroud to discuss Conservative plans for NHS reform in the run-up to the election.