SUPPORT is growing for a repeal of the Hunting Act if the Conservatives get into power at the next General Election.

Conservative leader Cavid Cameron has promised MPs a free vote on the issue.

New Forest West Conservative MP Desmond Swayne said he would vote for a repeal of what he called “a dreadful piece of legislation”.

He said the Hunting Act had led to an increase in injured foxes suffering a lingering death after being shot at rather than speedily despatched by hounds.

“What I don’t want to do, however, is to see this piece of legislation taking huge amounts of parliamentary time,” he said. “I want a nice simple bill that’s Yes or No.”

New Forest Hounds chairman Mike Squibb said: “It’s only going to happen if the Conservative party get in with a clear majority.”

Ken and Frankie James, who campaigned for a ban, want to see the Act tightened up. “I think 85 per cent of the public think that hunting is abhorrent and should be disbanded,” said Mr James.

A poll for the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the League Against Cruel Sports indicated that 59 per cent of Tory voters wanted to see the ban kept, while 30 per cent wanted it repealed.