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SNP MPs will vote against Tory fox hunting bill, says Angus Robertson

Angus Robertson MP Photo: PA / PA Wire

MPs from the SNP will vote against a bill which would relax fox hunting laws in England and Wales, its Westminster leader has announced.

In a statement drafted following a meeting with the SNP's parliamentary party this evening, Angus Robertson said: "We totally oppose fox hunting".

He added: "When there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider."

The move will break the SNP's own rule that its Westminster MPs do not vote on matters which only affect England.

Robertson added: "We are in a situation where the Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill - and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland's representation at Westminster second class.

"In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories' proposals to relax the ban - in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is - just as we will vote against the Tory welfare cuts next week, and appeal to Labour to join us."

The East Kent Hunt in 2005 Credit: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire

Amendments to the Hunting Act 2004 will be debated in Parliament on Wednesday, before a free vote.

The proposals would relax the law to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales to protect livestock, game birds and wild birds, while "having regard to the terrain" and provided it is "carried out as efficiently as possible".