The Queen’s Speech has confirmed that MPs are to be given another chance to vote on the future of hunting.

The government pledged to finally “reach a conclusion” on the issue at the State Opening of Parliament this morning.

Countryside groups are expressing their dismay that the Queen¨s Speech, which featured 22 bills the government plans to enact over the next 18 months, did not promise any legislation to help rural Britain.

Responding to the Queen¨s Speech, president of the Country Land and Business Association Anthony Bosanquet said: ¨We are disappointed to see the government devote precious time to a vote on a hunting ban when the countryside is on its knees. The government should be focusing its energy on regenerating the rural economy, which must be its first priority as rural areas struggle to recover from the ongoing foot-and-mouth crisis”

Chairman of the Countryside Alliance John Jackson said: “Having created an integrated department for rural issues, the government has a rare opportunity to show it plans to do something for the countryside, rather than to it. This way, the government can regain the trust and respect of the countryside.”

Mr Jackson also called on the government to resolve the hunting issue in a way, which did not criminalise a decent, legitimate minority. He added that if anti-hunting legislation was imposed a massive new civil liberties march in London and a determined new campaign against a ban would be a “racing certainty”.