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Dartford MP Gareth Johnson under pressure to change stance on fox hunting ban in online petition

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Campaigners have called on Dartford MP Gareth Johnson to change his stance on fox hunting after he told a resident he planned to scrap legislation.

More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition urging Mr Johnson to keep the hunting ban in place when a vote is held in Parliament.

Prime Minister David Cameron previously promised a free vote in the House of Commons to repeal the 2004 Hunting Act, which outlawed the hunting of wild animals such as foxes, deer and hares with dogs.

Gareth Johnson MP
Gareth Johnson MP

In Dartford, the campaign launched after Natalie Boorman, of Brent Lane, received a letter from the MP informing her he intended to "keep his word" by helping to scrap the act.

He wrote: "Whilst I do not believe that this issue is a priority for Dartford or Britain, the Conservative Party election manifesto contained a commitment to a free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

"I have always been clear with constituents who have previously raised this issue with me that I would vote in favour of repealing the Act. I intend to keep my word."

Miss Boorman says she hopes if enough signatures are collected it could persuade Mr Johnson to change his mind when a vote is held.

Traditional hunting with dogs has been illegal for 10 years. Stock picture by Nico Morgan
Traditional hunting with dogs has been illegal for 10 years. Stock picture by Nico Morgan

She said: "I was not only shocked by what Gareth Johnson said so flippantly in the letter, I was left feeling quite annoyed by his tone too.

"The thing is, he’s meant to be representing the people of Dartford in parliament, and he has a duty to us as his constituency to reflect our views – that’s how democracy is meant to work.

"But, I feel that this is his own opinion and it does not truly reflect the opinion of the people of Dartford, which is why I set up the petition."

Mr Johnson added fox hunting wasn't at the top of his priorities with his focus on other issues within the borough.

He said: "I don’t expect there to be a vote on this issue for several years yet so it is not something I am prioritising.

"There are many more pressing issues in Dartford at the moment."

To see the online petition click here.

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