A SPEECH by Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has been voted the best of the year at an award ceremony in London.
The annual Spectator Parliamentarian Awards were held at the Mandarin Hotel yesterday and Mr Sheerman scooped the speech prize.
And he says his award-winning speech was only his second best of the year.
But it was the controversial speech calling on the Government not to ban fox hunting that was the favourite of the 10 judges made up of political journalists.
Mr Sheerman said: "It is a great honour to receive this award from one of the English language's first news publications.
"Personally I thought my best speech was one I did on university top-up fees but this one was chosen.
"It is not so much that I support the practice of fox hunting but that I don't like to see minority groups targeted.
"For these people it is a way of life and I have issues with the Government taking that away from them."
The speech was delivered to the House of Commons on September 15.
Addressing the House the Labour MP said: "I do not like persecuting minorities and I do not want communities that have values and a way of life that differ from mine to lose them.
"I have a serious worry. I was in the House during the Thatcher years, when disgraceful and dreadful things were done to communities such as mining communities, but I draw a different lesson from that.
"I do not want to do to rural communities what the Thatcher Government did to the mining communities; two wrongs do not make a right.
"They may be the minority, but there are many people in this country who take a different view from the majority on country sports.
"As I explained in the original debate on this issue in 1997, I used to be anti-hunting, but then I thought through why I took that view. I have never hunted and I never want to. I do not shoot. I do not ride. However, I have lived in the country, reared chickens and ducks, and had foxes take them away."
Mr Sheerman said he would put his award, which was presented by Spectator editor Boris Johnson, on display in his bathroom.