A LONG-SERVING Keighley politician has expressed shock that the town’s MP plans to help overturn a ban on foxhunting.

Labour councillor Barry Thorne is angry that MP Kris Hopkins has vowed to vote in favour of repealing the controversial Hunting Act.

Conservative MP Mr Hopkins declared his intentions to Cllr Thorne in his response to a letter from the Labour stalwart.

Prime Minister David Cameron recently said he would give MPs a free vote on whether repeal the 10-year-old act.

Mr Hopkins said: “As I have said publicly many times, in the event of such a vote, I would vote to repeal it.

“In my judgement the act does nothing to protect wild animals and, in many cases, is actually detrimental to animal welfare when other methods of control and deployed, a number of which can be discriminate.

“I appreciate the strong feelings that many people have on this issue and I share the widespread concern for ensuring the welfare of all animals.”

Cllr Thorne, a Keighley town councillor and former Lord Mayor of, Bradford, said he was “genuinely surprised” at Mr Hopkins’s attitude.

He suggested that people in Keighley who were against blood sports might have voted differently for him in the general election if they had been aware of his views on the Hunting Act.

In his original letter to Mr Hopkins, Cllr Thorne said the act had never been more popular, with eight out of 10 people saying they supported the ban on fox hunting.

Cllr Thorne said: “I support the Hunting Act because chasing and killing wild mammals with dogs is cruel and has nothing to do with wildlife management.

“There is no credible evidence that fox numbers have increased since the ban, or that more foxes are being killed by other means.

“With over 400 convictions to date, the Hunting Act is the most successful piece of wild animal legislation in this country’s history.”