In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express before the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Ms Truss said the Hunting Act had been a “mistake”.
The Coalition promised a free vote on overturning the Hunting Act when parliamentary time allows.
However, she indicated there would be no chance to repeal the Act prior to next year’s election, partly because there is little chance of success.
Asked whether the party is likely to delay the vote until after the election, when it would stand a greater chance of success if more Tory MPs are elected, she said “yes”.
“Fox hunting has always been a matter for a free vote,” Ms Truss said.
“I personally would vote in favour of allowing fox hunting. I think it was a mistake, the Hunting Act, and I would vote for a repeal. We need to make sure that we have the votes to be able to do that. We have said we will put it before Parliament when time allows.”
David Cameron has been given a stern warning by countryside groups that rural voters will be less inclined to support the Conservatives next year if a pledge to repeal the ban is not included in the party’s manifesto.
Some pro-hunting groups already feel let down because a promise to lift the ban in the 2010 manifesto has not been honoured. Last month Sir Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, warned that the party risks losing half a million votes if it fails to include a pledge to repeal the ban on fox hunting in its manifesto.
Sir Barney said the Alliance “wants and expects” a pledge from the Conservatives as they go into next year’s general election. The fear for the Tories is that Ukip might begin to draw off its support in the countryside.
A poll of Countryside Alliance members held last year found that 13 per cent were planning to vote for Nigel Farage’s party at the election.
Ukip is pledging to introduce referendums on fox hunting to give people in the countryside the power to decide for themselves.
Sir Barney said: “We would like to see (the repeal of the Hunting Act) and I think people would expect that. We would want to see a commitment to repeal, tempered with a realistic view that we need some sort of new legal framework in which hunting would operate in the future. People are going to vote depending on this. There is half a million people whose votes it will influence quite strongly.”
Ms Truss said she could give no guarantees, however.
“We are yet to develop our manifesto,” she said.
Ms Truss, who at 38 is the youngest female Conservative Cabinet minister in British history, is also defiant over the badger culls.
The Government drew heavy criticism for sanctioning a cull as well as the methods it decided to employ.
Missing targets and then blaming the badgers for “moving the goalposts” provided Westminster with one of its more absurd moments last year.
Despite repeated demands to stop the badger culls, however, the Environment Secretary remains convinced they are the right approach.
Pilot schemes currently being conducted in Gloucester-shire and Somerset could even be extended.
“Our Chief Veterinary Officer is very clear that it is the right approach to deal with the issue and we will review the situation once those culls are complete,” she said.
She added an extension of the cull could not be ruled out.
Article taken from: http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/516121/Elizabeth-Truss-fox-hunting-ban-scrapped
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