ATTEMPTS to get Worcester's MP to strengthen the controversial hunting ban have been blocked - after councillors insisted city people "don't care" about it.

Back in September last year Robin Walker told your Worcester News the infamous legislation, which has always sparked huge controversy, was a "bad" piece of law which should be ditched.

As a result of that a debate has taken place at Worcester City Council this week over writing to him to ask that he backs a call to "strengthen rather than weaken" the Hunting Act.

But the motion, by Green Councillor Neil Laurenson, was voted down despite support from the Labour Party and Liberal Democrat Liz Smith.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, part of the Conservative leadership, said: "I'm not really sure why we're taking up precious time debating this, perhaps it has something to do with the General Election coming up.

"The residents I speak to tell me they're pleased we're freezing council tax and parking charges, they want the dustbins emptied, they want to know if the retail in the city is getting better.

"We shouldn't be here, asking our managing director (Duncan Sharkey) to waste his precious time writing a letter to our MP on something residents don't care about."

That led to fierce disagreement with Councillor Matt Lamb, who is Labour's parliamentary candidate in the Wyre Forest, insisting people do care.

Former Worcester Labour MP Mike Foster used a Private Members' Bill back in 1997 to try and ban fox hunting before it was finally voted through in 2000, giving the city a big role in its creation.

"The latest opinion poll showed 80 per cent of people think hunting should stay banned," said Cllr Lamb.

"The law is not perfect, and laws are broken, but rather than repeal something we should seek to improve it.

"When Mike Foster went for this it was after doing several polls and this issue actually came out top of what people wanted dealing with.

"It's sad that something which started in this constituency could face its nemesis as a result of the current MP."

Cllr Laurenson then said he "won't be lectured on what the council's responsibilities are" and insisted the motion was about "sending out a very clear message".

During a vote, the Mayor of Worcester Councillor Alan Amos abstained but votes against by the entire Conservative group led to the motion being defeated.

The Hunting Ban 2004 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".

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.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss has since called the act a “mistake".