01
Apr
10

The damaging effects of Vote OK


Labour MP Tom Levitt MP has demanded openness and transparency about the activities of a group called Vote OK. This is a national organisation of  people who support hunting with dogs which is backing pro-hunt Conservatives in 26 seats at the general election.

“It should be the people of High Peak who decide which candidate to support. My record on fox hunting is clear: I oppose hunting with hounds, hare coursing and stag hunting and I always have. I am glad that they are now banned and I believe that the Conservatives are out of step with public opinion for wanting to bring it back.”

High Peak is one of the 26 seats where Vote OK is seeking to unseat anti-hunting MPs by pouring money and resources into the Conservative campaign, according to the Independent newspaper (28 March).
 Mr Levitt has written to the Conservative candidate in High Peak, Andrew Bingham, as follows:

“Following the revelations in yesterday’s Independent that High Peak is one of the constituencies being targeted by organised fox hunters through an organisation calling itself Vote OK, I am calling on you to make your association with them clear.

“The article reveals that Vote OK are directly flooding key constituencies with resources in a bid to help pro-hunting members of the Conservative Party get elected to Parliament, while being instructed to keep quiet on the issue of hunting itself. By posing as Conservative campaigners – while actually being fox-hunters only motivated by bringing back the barbaric practice of animals ripping each other to shreds – I believe they are misleading the public.

“In light of this, and in the interests of transparency for voters, I feel you have a duty to make clear your links with Vote OK or other hunt-supporting organisations.

“I am therefore calling on you to make public:

  • Weather you have accepted any assistance from Vote OK or other hunt supporting organisations or would if it were offered in the future?
  • Whether you do support a repeal of the ban on fox-hunting and, if so, whether you intend to make this clear to voters during the campaign?

“Given the recent record of the Conservative Party on campaign funding, I am appalled at the lack of transparency around Vote OK’s activities. I feel it is entirely wrong that a tiny group of hunters without any local connections is trying to get its supporters into Parliament by the back door.

“And given that polls show 75% of the electorate opposes a repeal of the ban on fox-hunting, I call upon you to be open and honest with the electorate on this issue.”

Supporters of the ban on hunting are invited to show that support on the web site www.backtheban.com

(ED says) In addition Fox in Parliament is also well placed to show opposition to David Cameron, so do contact us if you would like to be involved.

We also looked through Tory PPC Andrew Binghams website We could not find any mention of Vote OK or even his views on hunting with dogs for his constituents to read. Yet he is quite happy to have the hunting lobby helping in his campaign out of sight of the public.

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