HUDDERSFIELD MP Barry Sheerman has defended his outspoken "no" vote to a ban on hunting.
Taking a stand against the vast majority of his Labour colleagues, he was one of only three Government members who voted against the ban last week, amid turbulent scenes inside and outside the House of Commons.
"I have always been someone who came into politics to fight for the rights of minorities," he said yesterday.
Some political commentators believe the overwhelming ``yes" vote had a deeply political motive - to revenge Margaret Thatcher's treatment of the miners 20 years ago.
Mr Sheerman said: "Although I don't hunt, or have much knowledge of hunting, I know I never wanted to see our present government acting like the previous administration."
He agreed with many Liberal Democrat MPs who were trying to find a compromise.
"I have always supported compromise, a middle way," said Mr Sheerman.
He questioned why the Parliament Act had been invoked. The powerful Act rams legislation through the House of Lords.
He said previous experience of living in the country made him more aware of the issues dealing with hunting with dogs.
He once kept ducks and chickens and was well aware of the threat they faced from foxes.
Mr Sheerman said the use of dogs to catch and quickly kill those foxes was more humane than shooting them and leaving them, possibly injured, to die in agony.
He said that while some New Labour MPs were well intentioned, others had been waiting to atone for some of the actions of Mrs Thatcher.