The Maidstone and The Weald Conservative MP went head to head with the Countryside Alliance’s (CA) chief executive, Simon Hart, on Radio Four’s Today programme last week.

“The police cannot be deployed in large numbers throughout the countryside filming every hunt, but there are people called ‘hunt monitors’ who film evidence of illegal hunting, which they then send to the police,” Ms Widdecombe stated.

She continued: “These monitors are subject to a huge amount of harassment from hunters. My view is that monitors should be licensed and it should be an offence to obstruct them.”

The League Against Cruel Sports’ Barry Hugill told Shooting Times: “This suggestion has been made against a background of widespread intimidation of hunt monitors. The League is very interested in protecting monitors and will study Ann’s proposals closely.”

Simon Hart commented: “I’m amazed by what Ann Widdecombe is saying. It is up to the police to enforce the law of this land, not a group of political activists. Why not have amateur monitors complaining about people speeding through your village? Amateur monitors doing drug raids at your local nightclub? This is a ridiculous suggestion.”

The rest of this article will appear in 8 November issue of Shooting Times.

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