The Queen pressurised Tony Blair over fox hunting during a weekend at Balmoral, according to a new book. The monarch, who reportedly claimed that Blair “was in the wrong party”, lobbied the then prime minister some years before

The biography of Elizabeth II by Sally Beddell Smith claims:

“she patiently explained to him over dinner that hunting was an activity not only for the upper class but regular people as well. Some of the riders, she said, were far from well-off and rented their horses from livery stables.”

The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt was regularly attended by members of the royal family including Prince William and his father Charles, who is no stranger to political lobbying himself.

With delicious irony, the Hunting Act finally became law after receiving royal assent from the Queen in 2004.

  1. How is this ironic? Royal Assent is mostly just a formality and happens by default, except for on the advice of a Minister. The Crown has no real say either way.

  2. @Appo: Way to miss the point. That’s why it is ironic.

    You really think we would be writing about royal assent and not know that it happens automatically?

  3. Nigel Fletcher says:

    Actually, Royal Assent was given to the Hunting Act by the Lords Commissioners acting on behalf of The Queen, during the Prorogation of Parliament in 2004. So, she never formally signed it herself. And when the Clerk announced “La Reine, Le voult” (“The Queen wishes it”) a few MPs who had come to the Lords for the ceremony shouted out “No she doesn’t!”. Not so much ironic as pantomime-esque.

  4. Harry Thompson says:

    This really disgusts me. Despite being left wing, I’ve always been in favour of our Monarchy, as I believe its simply a non-important traditional institution.

    However, if this was widespread, I’d want it gone. It’s fucking appalling that she thinks she should be able to influence policy in any way.

  5. I agree with her majesty. Fox hunting is as much as a national tradition as the monarchy is.
    While it is cruel for the hounds to rip the foxes apart , foxes to need to be controlled as they can kill alot of chickens in one night , i know this from personal experience.

  6. Re: Rob Malkin.

    Cruelly massacring foxes is not the correct response to the fact that foxes kill chickens. It is possible for farmers to adequately protect their chickens. If anything, it should be rabbits eating crops that people should be worried about. Foxes are a natural predator of rabbits.

    Dogs chase foxes to the point of exhaustion. Spring hunting is exceptionally bad, as parents are chased from their dens, leaving their young to die of starvation.

  7. Rob Malkin, if the chickens had been better protected, then the fox wouldn’t have gotten to them. Fact. Foxes will come back for their kills and bury what they haven’t eaten providing they are not disturbed i.e. by some angry chicken owner who didn’t protect their chickens properly. The predator-prey model ensures that foxes will control their own numbers providing we humans stop interfering by providing them with readily available “free” food. If they have to hunt for their food, such as rabbits, they will only survive as long as there are rabbits to eat. Hence the oscillating graphs of numbers.

    Also, the hunts excuses of “we only chase the old and sick” etc are also rubbish. The old and sick are there to play their part in nature like everything else, they don’t need our help, nor to be chased to exhaustion by a pack of half starved hounds and spend their final moments terrified before being ripped apart. Then the hunters daub the foxes blood on themselves and applaud their hard work. And that’s if it is an old or sick fox and not one they’ve bred specifically to be hunted, or dug out of it’s den.

    Humans are the problem, not foxes, nor anything else in nature-including badgers! (see the articles on intensive dairy farming and selenium supplements that prevent TB and then sign the petition to stop the badger cull).

  8. I really don’t feel strongly about fox hunting but this sort of thing sums up why Labour should be a Republican party

  9. 95% of all chickens bred in this country are done so in sheds. Dark, concrete sheds. The chicken argument is a red herring re. fox hunting. Also cars kill more foxes a year than hunting.

    Fox hunting is a cruel sport (like bull fighting, bear baiting, dog and cockrel fighting) that shouldnt be part of a modern ‘civilised society’.

    Keep it banned!

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