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MPs' response to Gazette poll

Devon MPs have taken their chance to respond in print to the results of a Mid Devon Gazette readers’ poll on hunting.

The survey showed that 69 per cent of the 903 who voted were in favour of retaining hunting in its present form.

Two of the three MPs found the results in line with their constituents’ views but the third said the poll was “quite different” to what MORI found and suspected the result may not reflect the views of the readership as a whole.

Just one person in the survey backed tighter restrictions on hunting while 14 went for a partial ban in certain areas. Another 256 voted for a nationwide ban.

Gazette deputy editor Mary-Ann Bloomfield told readers of the weekly paper, which covers the Tiverton, Cullompton, Culm Valley and Exe Valley areas: “We thank the MPs for their responses.

“The future of hunting is one of the biggest political issues in our MPs’ constituencies and in the wider region.

“Given the high household penetration the paper enjoys and the tremendous response to the vote, we believe the results carry great weight.

“We were careful to put in place great restrictions which prevented mass manipulation of the vote and restricted voting to people living locally.”

Conservative MP Angela Browning said the Burns report on hunting showed that in field sports areas, such as the West Country, even those who did not participate recognised the economic implications.

Lib Dem Nick Harvey said: “Though I am not persuaded of the case for a ban I will consider the other options the Home Secretary may propose when the time comes.”

Another Lib Dem, Jackie Ballard said: “The results of the poll do not alter my personal intention to vote for a complete ban on hunting as soon as the opportunity arises in Parliament.”

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