Labour is promising to toughen up the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales, saying it will consult on jailing those caught breaking the law.

Ahead of the Boxing Day hunts, shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said jail terms would put penalties on a par with those for other wildlife crimes.

An unlimited fine is currently the most severe punishment available.

The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance says Labour’s “obsessive pursuit of hunting… looks increasingly bizarre”.

Some 250 packs

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