The Independent newspaper has reported that Sir John Mortimer, creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey” and a retired barrister, will defend former event rider, Richard Meade, who won three Olympic medals and was a former member of the RSPCA Council.

It says the RSPCA is attempting to expel Richard Meade from its membership for “orchestrating a campaign to overturn the society’s policy on blood sports”.

A private hearing, being held on14 June in south London at which Mr Meade’s case will be considered, follows a High Court ruling last year that gave the RSPCA discretion to veto applications for membership that the society believed to be part of the “infiltration” campaign.