A HAMPSHIRE Conservative MP has declared the hunting ban “a success” and urged pro-hunters to abandon efforts to bring back the bloodsport.

Caroline Dinenage, the Gosport MP, criticised opponents of the ban who trotted out the “same arguments”, a decade after it was introduced.

Ms Dinenage ridiculed the idea of hunting being a “tradition”, saying: “One might have said the same thing about sending small boys up chimneys.”

And she argued the ban was popular with eight of ten voters in favour according to a recent poll by the League Against Cruel Sports.

The MP spoke out amid renewed tension about the ban as supporters and opponents marked its tenth anniversary last month.

Many Conservative MPs and voters are angry with David Cameron for abandoning his promise to stage a fresh vote after Liberal Democrat opposition.

Daily Echo:

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

And Desmond Swayne, the New Forest West MP, recently said he would vote for repeal given the opportunity, while admitting: “I don’t see that happening soon.”

But, in an article for The Spectator magazine, Ms Dinenage wrote: “In terms of convictions the Act has been a marked success. Ministry of Justice figures show the Act out-performs all other wild mammal legislation in England and Wales having the highest number of convictions since it was introduced (341 between 2005 and 2013).

“Then there is the claim that hunting was ‘a way of managing the countryside’. Let’s be clear, traditional hunting was never about pest control but bloodsports – pure and simple.”

The MP accepted that “illegal hunting still takes place” but said: “Like everything from drug laws to speed limits the problem lies not with the Act but with those who flout the law.”

She called for tougher punishments and tougher laws to ensure the killing of foxes “cannot be passed off as an ‘unfortunate accident’”.

Ms Dinenage added: “The Hunting Act has survived ten testing years. It has proven to be successful and popular.

“The focus should be not on repeal but rather how we can make an already good law even better, so that more animals are spared from a horrific fate in the name of an inhumane and archaic sport.”