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Fox hunting vote plans shelved

Credit: Press Association

Government plans to put forward a bill relaxing rules on fox hunting in England and Wales have been pulled after the SNP revealed the party's MP's would vote against the proposal.

The SNP's stance meant the bill, which would only apply in England and Wales, was unlikely to win a majority in the House of Commons.

Fox hunting is currently banned throughout Britain - but in Scotland an unlimited amount of dogs can be used by farmers or landowners to flush out foxes.

In England and Wales there is a limit of just two dogs and the Government had wanted to amend the law to bring it in line with Scotland.

SNP MPs to vote on English fox hunting bill

Credit: Press Association

SNP MPs will vote against a bill to relax fox hunting laws in England and Wales.

A vote will be held in Westminster on Wednesday 15th July. The proposals would bring hunting laws in line with legislation in Scotland. But the SNP vote is likely to influence the result.

The party say it shows they can "wield real power" against an "arrogant government".

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP and SNP rural affairs spokesperson Calum Kerr says the party are now looking at legislation north of the border.

"We are completely opposed to fox hunting - indeed, there are moves within the Scottish Parliament to review the existing ban in Scotland and decide whether it is strong enough. To maintain the existing rejection of this cruel and unnecessary sport south of the border is therefore in Holyrood's interest.

"Voting against this proposed Tory amendment will hopefully sink it altogether and remind this arrogant and out of touch UK Government - which has refused to agree to any SNP amendments to the Scotland Bill and wants to turn our MPs into second class representatives by bringing in English Votes for English Laws - that the SNP can and will wield real power to frustrate their ambitions.

"We said during the General Election campaign that a powerful SNP cohort at Westminster would support progressive politics across these islands whenever it could. Now we are turning words into action."

– Calum Kerr, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP and SNP rural affairs spokesperson

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Calum Kerr delivers maiden Commons speech

Scottish Borders MP Calum Kerr has raised the issue of English votes for English laws in Parliament.

The government has delayed the plans, and a House of Commons vote on the issue, which was promised before the election, now won't take place until September.

In his maiden speech in the Commons, Calum Kerr said ministers had "retreated in the face of Parliamentary numbers":

We see today, with the suspension of plans over English votes for English laws, ministers have retreated in the face of Parliamentary numbers.

We've sent them homeward to think again."

– Calum Kerr MP

SNP: Tories 'imposing austerity budget' on Scotland

Stewart Hosie Credit: PA

The SNP has criticised George Osborne's budget, saying it continues the Conservative government's "harsh austerity agenda".

They say the budget has been "imposed" on Scotland:

George Osborne’s Tory budget will hit hard working families, the poorest and young people the hardest. He has continued with his harsh austerity agenda - particularly the savage cuts in tax credits. Any increase in the living wage is of course welcome, but the reality is that the good will be undone by the Tory cuts to the incomes of people who can least afford it. And the living wage in Scotland is currently £7.85 - George Osborne is proposing to see it effectively lowered to £7.20.

This Budget was a sermon from the high priest of an austerity cult - taking from the poor and hard working people and giving to the richest. The Tories' cuts in the living standards of young people are particularly severe, including scrapping student grants. The SNP Government will continue to deliver grants for the poorest students in Scotland, demonstrating the benefits of having these powers in the Scottish Parliament, rather than in Tory hands at Westminster.

There were measures which we welcome such as the freeze in fuel duty, but there was nothing in the Budget to encourage innovation or exports.

The UK Government are imposing this austerity Budget on Scotland on the basis of having a single Tory MP north of the border - the electorate in Scotland overwhelmingly rejected austerity at the election by returning 56 SNP MPs, and the Tories secured their lowest share of the vote in Scotland since 1865.

This Budget underlines the need to have economic and welfare powers in Scotland, so that we can build a more dynamic economy to boost tax revenues, and a fairer society where policies benefit the many, not deliver tax cuts for millionaires."

– Stewart Hosie, SNP

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SNP's Arkless claims "historic win" for D&G

SNP's newly elected MP for Dumfries and Galloway has called his appointment a "historic win".

Richard Arkless is only the third SNP candidate ever to win in Dumfries and Galloway.

For the past ten years the seat has been held by Labour's Russell Brown, who came third in this election, behind the Conservative's Finlay Carson.

Mr Arkless follows in the footsteps of George Thompson in 1974 and Alisdair Morgan in 1997:

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