Blair criticised

Blair criticised

britain's Labour government has denied accusations that it is going soft on measures to ban fox-hunting and said it would make a statement soon. The Daily Mail reported that the government would allow the Private Members' Bill on fox-hunting to go forward, rather than waiting till next year.

The bill on fox-hunting was introduced in 1997, but ran into trouble as the government failed to find enough time to discuss it in Parliament. This was despite the fact that a large number of members of Parliaments were in favour of the ban.

The Mail said the move would mark a "spectacular retreat" by prime minister Tony Blair, who had vowed earlier this year to ban hunting on grounds of cruelty. The newspaper said the government is expected to make an announcement about setting up an inquiry committee to look into the impact the ban will have on rural employment. Anti-ban campaigners say a ban on fox-hunting will put 16,000 jobs at risk. The sight of hunters riding after foxes with packs of hounds has been a traditional feature of country life in Britain for more than 300 years.

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