Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate speaks out against fox hunting following 'endorsement' from hunt group
A Conservative Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has stressed that she is against fox hunting following an apparent endorsement from a hunt group.
In mid-March, Jo Riley, a master at the Barlow Hunt in Derbyshire, based near Dronfield, announced that she had held a meeting with Angelique Foster, Conservative candidate for Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mrs Riley referred to Mrs Foster as “our candidate” and said they had “discussed issues which were pertinent to field sports in relation to saboteur activities”.
An election to the role of PCC, who oversees policing and crime spending and priorities in the county and city, is to take place on Thursday, May 6.
Mrs Foster, who is a Derbyshire County Council cabinet member and North East Derbyshire district councillor, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “As I have said before, I am personally against fox hunting but my own personal views are not relevant here.
“It might be relevant to an MP (Member of Parliament) who has to vote on such matters.
“As you know, the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to make sure that the police uphold the law.
“This would be the case regardless of the candidate elected to the post.
“Mrs Riley asked for a meeting to discuss specific alleged cases of antisocial behaviour and harassment.
“I have taken her comments on board like I would do with any member of the public.
“If elected, I would expect Derbyshire Police to take any breach of the law seriously and tackle it, and that includes fox hunting.
“This stance should be the same for any of the candidates elected in May, regardless of the party they represent.”
Barlow Hunt hit national headlines in December 2019 after admitting that a fox had been killed by its hounds while trail hunting – a simulated type of hunt – in an area of woodland near Matlock, close to Chatsworth House
A spokesperson for the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs, which operates in the north Derbyshire area, said: “How can the voters of Derbyshire have faith in someone who is willing to be the candidate of the illegal hunting community?”
The Derby Hunt Saboteurs have said the reference to Cllr Foster as “our candidate” by the Barlow Hunt is “worrying”.