Defra minister attends meeting with convicted foxhunter

Convicted foxhunter Peter White invited to meeting with Mark Spencer MP and Michael Gove

Convicted foxhunter Peter White invited to meeting with Mark Spencer MP and Michael Gove

Conservative MP Mark Spencer (Sherwood) and Michael Gove, the newly appointed secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), attended a meeting of “farmers” including a recently convicted terrierman.

Peter White, 57, a terrierman for the Grove and Rufford Hunt, was convicted on the 14th March 2017, at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, of hunting a mammal with dogs.

In June 2017 we revealed that Mr White along with convicted Grove and Rufford huntsman Paul Larby had been secretly campaigning for Ben Bradley (Conservative Party candidate for Mansfield). When contacted by the Mansfield Chad, Bradley denied his campaign was being influenced by convicted fox hunters stating, “I don’t know who was arrested for what.”

When constituents asked Mark Spencer MP how he would vote on any attempt to repeal of the popular Hunting Act, he stated “I would argue that there are far more important issues that MPs and the Government should be focusing on… I would need to see the legislation the Government brings first.”

Spencer goes on to state, “While there have been successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act, very few of these have actually been associated with hunts; most of the prosecutions have been associated with poaching. This means that the Hunting Act is having very little effect, if any, and is ultimately failing in its objectives.”

What Mr Spencer has omitted to tell his constituents is that, like Ben Bradley, the Grove and Rufford Hunt supported his campaign during the general election. Despite there being “far more important issues”, Spencer, and this maybe purely coincidental, has recently started following the Countryside Alliance, Shooting Times and Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust on Twitter.

Perhaps Mark Spencer and Michael Gove, like Ben Bradley, “don’t know who was arrested for what.” However it appears that leafleting for the right people does buy you an invitation to a meeting with the government minister in charge of wildlife laws, even if you have been convicted of breaking such laws.