I believe there can be no place in a civilised society for animal cruelty and I believe that the vast majority of the British public also support the ban on hunting with hounds that was introduced by the previous Labour Government through the 2004 Hunting Act.
I fought the General Election on a manifesto that included a commitment to defend the hunting ban and to build on the strong record the previous Labour Government had on animal welfare.
As you know, however, the Conservative Party's manifesto included a commitment to give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time.
I know there is real concern among many people and organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports that that there may now be an attempt to repeal the Hunting Act in the near future. I can assure you that I will oppose any attempt to repeal the Hunting Act and that I will continue to bear in mind the points raised by constituents on this issue.
I also believe that holding a vote on repealing the Hunting Act distracts from the real issues that are facing many rural communities - low wages, the shortage of affordable housing, improving infrastructure and protecting public services.