Gloucestershire riders prepare for the Boxing Day Hunts
Riders and hounds will be out in force across Gloucestershire this morning for the traditional Boxing Day hunts.
The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt will be one of four hunts taking place today, but has been moved from the Worcester Lodge in Didmarton because its usual site is water logged.
The Beaufort Hunt will not be taking place at The Kennels in Badminton at 10.45am.
Meanwhile the Berkeley Hunt will be taking place at Thornbury High Street; the Cotswold Hunt will meet at The Frogmill Inn, Shipton Oliffe, Cheltenham and the VWH Hunt will start at The Mansion, Cirencester Park, Cirencester for its joint meet with the RAC Beagles.
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Meanwhile there is no imminent prospect of a parliamentary vote on repealing the hunting ban, a Cabinet minister has signalled.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson appeared to rule out bringing the issue before the Commons next year.
Mr Paterson, a keen supporter of country sports including hunting, told the Daily Telegraph: “There’s only a point having a vote if you’re going to win.
“At the moment, it would not be my proposal to bring forward a vote we were going to lose. There needs to be more work done on Members of Parliament.”
He went on: “It is our clear intention to have a free vote but we need to choose an appropriate moment.”
Campaigners say enforcing the restriction wastes police time, and suggest some officers turn a blind eye to breaches of the law.
But David Cameron has been accused of dragging his heels over acting on the coalition agreement promise of a free vote on overturning the ban.
Many Tories would support repeal, but most Labour and the Liberal Democrats are still in favour of the ban.