WORCESTER'S MP has revealed his opposition to the fox hunting ban - saying he would back scrapping the legislation.
Robin Walker has courted controversy by saying he agrees with Environment Secretary Liz Truss that the infamous Hunting Act had been a “mistake".
He also says former Worcester Labour MP Mike Foster, who used a Private Members' Bill back in 1997 to try and ban fox hunting before it was finally voted through in 2000, "wasted a vast amount of parliamentary time" on it.
Ms Truss revealed over the weekend that the Tories want to repeal the Hunting Act, saying the party will take it to the vote if it forms the next Government.
Mr Walker said: "I think it's a bad piece of legislation that needs to be repealed by parliament.
"It will probably be in our manifesto and I would support getting rid of it, it isn't effective and doesn't improve animal welfare - it's clearly a piece of legislation which isn't working.
"I just don't see this as a priority, it never comes up at my surgeries or on the doorsteps as an issue - there are much bigger concerns for people in Worcester.
"I am focused on the economy, education, health - these are the things people really care about rather than obsessing over this.
"I don't see banning fox hunting a priority, and I do think Mike Foster wasted a vast amount of parliamentary time on it."
He also said "gassing, snaring or shooting" a fox would likely be a worse way of treating the animal than hunting with hounds.
Mr Foster, who was his predecessor as Worcester's MP, got drawn out of a ballot in 1997 to create his own piece of proposed legislation.
After being talked out of parliament it eventually returned to the agenda and was passed in 2000, becoming law in 2004.
But it led to bitter divisions and protests in the countryside, proved unenforceable in parts of the country and when Tony Blair retired as Prime Minister, he said it was one of his "greatest regrets".
Mr Foster said: "I took up the fox hunting ban because a poll in the Worcester News showed it was the issue people in the city most wanted me to tackle.
"Do I regret listening to local people? Of course not, it was the right thing to do.
"Robin has had four years in parliament, he should know better - given the amount of work MPs do it wasn't a vast amount of time spent on it, in fact to go backwards would be a waste of parliamentary time."
Councillor Joy Squires, Labour's current Worcester parliamentary candidate, said: "It is bad enough that Robin Walker supports the ineffective and barbaric badger culls that are currently underway.
"That the Government minister he works for is now suggesting the ban on fox hunting will be lifted is a betrayal of all the Worcester people who supported Mike Foster."
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.
Ms Truss revealed in an interview with the Sunday Express over the weekend that she wants the Hunting Act repelled, saying it was a “mistake”.
Mr Walker works as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the 38-year-old, who is the youngest female Conservative Cabinet member in British history.