Tomorrow, the House of Commons will vote on whether to make a number of changes to the Hunting Act 2004.
Supporters of the proposed changes say they are relatively minor, bringing the law in England and Wales more in line with that in Scotland to address the concerns of upland farmers. The pursuit and killing of a wild animal by dogs would remain illegal.
Opponents say the proposed changes would weaken the Hunting Act so much that it would be practically unenforceable.
When asked about this issue in the run-up to the General Election, I made it clear that I have never hunted myself and find it hard to understand how people can take pleasure in killing wild animals so was minded to vote against repeal of the Act. However I promised to listen to the views of my constituents in the run-up to any vote on this sensitive issue, which arouses such strong emotions on both sides of the debate. Ultimately my job is to be a voice for the people of Croydon Central, who I was elected to represent.
I’m clear from the hundreds of emails, letters and tweets I’ve received that the overwhelming majority of my constituents are opposed to any weakening of the Act. So although it will put me at odds with many of my Conservative colleagues, I will be voting to retain the current law on Wednesday.
UPDATE: Good news - the Government has now announced that it will not be proceeding with the vote so the law will remain as it is.