A Magistrate has resigned from his post of 19 years because of the hunting ban, which he believes is based on prejudice.

Derek Pearce from the North Avon Magistrates Court is leaving following receipt of a letter from the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Lord Falconer, warning Magistrates that should they break a law, or refuse to enforce it, they would be “incompatible with the requirements of their office”.

Mr Pearce, who followed the Beaufort Hunt yesterday, tendered his resignation because he believes the new law on hunting is unjust. “The expert evidence of the Hunting Enquiries has been disregarded, and prejudice and class-hatred has ruled,” he said.

“The wisdom and experience of the House of Lords has also been disregarded by Labour MPs whose aim is to persecute a minority group. They even now have the gall to openly admit this was their aim. The welfare of animals was irrelevant.

“Sadly, the excellent reputation of our judicial system is seriously undermined when an abuse of power by a Labour Government dictates that a law can be forced into being against all sense and reason. I am not prepared to do their dirty work for them in helping to administer a law based on prejudice.”

A spokeswoman from the Countryside Alliance said: ‘We expect that many other magistrates feel, like Derek Pearce, that they may be unable to implement the Government’s unjust, illiberal and prejudiced piece of legislation. It is a great shame that people like magistrates and policemen are being put in such an impossible position by the Labour Government.”