Representatives from six hunts gather in Westminster for an early morning call on Tony Blair

Prime Minister Tony Blair had a rude awakening last week when hunting horns sounded in Whitehall at 6.30am.

Representatives from six hunts (Bicester with Whaddon Chace, Beaufort, Hampshire, Vale of Aylesbury, West Somerset and Quantock Staghounds), appeared outside Mr and Mrs Blair’s bedroom window in the early hours of the morning – a show of defiance against the threat of a hunting ban.

Patrick Martin, huntsman from the Bicester, was one of those who took part in the protest.

He said: “This is part of a series of demonstrations we are making to keep reminding the government we are still here. We want them to get on with this consultation; not to use this as an excuse for a six-month breathing space.”

Other protest action this week included a “slow down” on the M25 organised by the Union of Country Sports Workers involving some 50 vehicles and bringing stretches of the motorway to a halt.

John Bycroft, whose son Mark is huntsman of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent, said: “I am taking part in this protest because if Tony Blair does not listen to us, not only will my son lose his job but my grandchildren will lose their home. We will repeat this action as many times as we have to until the government sees sense.”

Hunting vigil begins

A vigil at Westminster takes place tomorrow (Wednesday 15 May) with hunt supporters gathering outside Parliament. It is set to continue until the end of the consultation period.

The vigil will bemanned by different hunts and country workers from all over the UK on a 24-hour shift basis.

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