Scottish manifesto roundup
Before we start, it’s important to note that our campaigns tend to be on issues which are devolved to the Scottish Parliament; MPs elected in June won’t be able to influence them directly. We’ve included detail, where given, on what parties will do in both the Scottish Parliament and Westminster.
Scottish National Party
The SNP manifesto is largely focused on issues reserved to Westminster, with a short section on universal issues like council tax and the NHS at the start of the document.
The SNP’s manifesto includes one line, covering the English and Welsh Hunting Act, “We will oppose any relaxation of the laws on fox-hunting”.
The English and Welsh Act is a much more robust piece of legislation than the Scottish equivalent. Logic should mean that the SNP will make amendments to the Protection of Wild Mammals Act that make it as strong as the English and Welsh legislation they have pledged to defend. However, we would have liked the SNP to be clearer on this point.
On hunting, the Scottish Conservatives say, “The Scottish Parliament’s Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 has recently been reviewed and Lord Bonomy’s report is a largely balanced attempt to provide greater accountability and clarity around the law, which we welcome. We have no plans to revisit the Act beyond these recommendations.”
We would prefer the Scottish Parliament to go further than Bonomy’s recommendations, but it is positive that the Scottish Conservatives appear to acknowledge that the Act must be revisited.
What is curious is that the Scottish Conservatives and Unionist Party make no mention of Theresa May’s support for repealing the English and Welsh Hunting Act.
In many ways, this was the most straightforward of the manifestos on hunting.
Labour ended fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing. Only a Labour government will ensure the bans remain across the UK, and only Labour would enhance the law and guarantee enforcement in Scotland.
Our only minor quibble is that hunting with dogs hasn’t been banned across the UK; there is no ban in place in Northern Ireland.
The Scottish Green manifesto is entirely focused on reserved issues and doesn’t mention hunting specifically. However, we asked the Greens for a comment on hunting, and specifically whether or not Scottish Green MPs would vote on the English and Welsh Act.
“We’ve got a proud track record of supporting animal welfare issues in the Scottish Parliament. Specific things done very recently include Patrick Harvie calling for a real ban on foxhunting First Minister’s Questions, and Alison Johnstone speaking in support of a ban on snaring.
“Scottish Green MPs elected to Westminster would vote against any repeal of hunting bans.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats
Neither the Scottish or UK Lib Dem manifestos mention hunting. We asked them for a comment and will publish this when (or if, given how close the election is!) we receive it.