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Leading figures in the Countryside Alliance, the main pro-hunt organisation which declares itself to be politically nonaligned, were party to the setting up of an organisation which is seeking to “evict” anti-hunting Labour MPs. The Guardian has seen a transcript of a telephone conference call involving the head of the alliance in which the participants discuss how the new group would send thousands of canvassers into marginal seats.
Knowing how unpopular hunting is with voters, Mr Hart spelt out the strategy, “It would be much cleverer if we never mentioned hunting at all.”
When the Guardian contacted the alliance to inquire about its relationship with Vote-OK, a spokeswoman said: “There is no link.”
But when informed about the transcript of the conference call, Mr Hart confirmed that the conversation had taken place.
The group is fronted by Otis Ferry, son of Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry. Otis Ferry’s criminal record includes drink driving, failing to provide a breath sample after he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and the cowardly assault on two women.
A leaked email to the Daily Mirror revealed that, “We will only help candidates who give us an unequivocal commitment to support repeal when the time comes.”
It is worth noting that Vote-OK don’t seem to be coordinating the “legions” of activists as claimed in the Telegraph and by pro-hunt MPs. The Grove and Rufford Hunt, for example, could only muster about half a dozen people for campaigning on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Mansfield!
Then again, what self-respecting MP or prospective MP would accept the help of a group that hides its true aims from constituents?