Share

Tory MP: RSPCA Heythrop Hunt prosecution has a 'strong political edge'

Conservative MP Simon Hart
News

Tory MP: RSPCA Heythrop Hunt prosecution has a 'strong political edge'4

Governance | Vibeka Mair | 17 Jan 2013

The RSPCA says the Charity Commission has expressed "no concern" about its recent prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt, as Conservative MP Simon Hart vows he and a group of politicians will continue to pile pressure on the charity about its prosecutions.

Speaking to civilsociety.co.uk, Hart said the RSPCA’s recent successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire had a “strong political edge”.

“It’s odd that out of all the numbers of potential cases which could have been brought, the RSPCA chose one involving David Cameron’s constituents,” he said.

Hart, who along with a cross-party group of politicians has asked the Charity Commission to investigate the RSPCA’s activities, said there were questions around whether the charity could be an impartial prosecutor and political campaigning organisation with commercial interests.

Hart, a former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, plans to table a parliamentary debate on the issue. “If it looks like the RSPCA is using its favourable condition of charitable status to further its political causes we will continue to shine a light on it.”

In response to enquires about its meeting with the RSPCA, the Charity Commission said:  “Senior Charity Commission executives have met with senior representatives from the RSPCA.  We discussed the RSPCA’s approach to prosecutions in general, and the recent prosecution of the Heythrop hunt in particular, and the responsibilities of trustees in making decisions about undertaking prosecutions.   Decisions to undertake prosecutions are properly for trustees to make, and are not normally matters of regulatory concern for the Commission.  We are not investigating the RSPCA - the position has not changed as a result of the meeting.”

The RSPCA added: “The Charity Commission has expressed no concern about the decisions made by the RSPCA, including the recent prosecution of the Heythrop hunt. The RSPCA welcomed and was unsurprised by this outcome.The Charity Commission has confirmed that it was not investigating the RSPCA and this is still the case.”

 

Pattie B
23 Jan 2013

Simon Hart should put his bloodlust to one side and get on with his proper job as an MP. The RSPCA is not political it is doing what its supporters expect it to do, and that is to prosecute animal abusers. The only people playing politics here are the MPs and the Countryside Allance, who abuse their position to try to smear an honourable organisation for their own devious ends which is a repeal of the hunting Act. I thought MPs were supposed to reflect the view of the people who voted them in, not pursue their own private abberations. Hunting with hounds is against the law and those who break the law should be caught and punished. Simon Hart you should not be in Parliament when you defend criminal behaviour. The majority dont want the Act repealed we want it strengthened, so that our wildlife can be left to live in peace.

Ruth Griffiths
uk resident
25 Jan 2013
Response to [Pattie B]

Brilliantly said patti. What a cheek, wasting parliamentary time to assist his bloodthirsty hunt buddies further their cause. Vile hunting back? No way get used to it hart. The british people said no & no means no!!!!!!!!!!!

Philip Kirkpatrick
Joint Head of Charity and Social Enterprise
Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP
19 Jan 2013

Simon Hart MP is quite wrong here . First, the RSPCA has no special legal status as prosecutor . Any person can bring a private a prosecution, subject to the Attorney General' s right to intervene. So, as a matter of law, no question can arise as to whether RSPCA should be entitled to bring prosecutions merely because it has an interest in the outcome. Every citizen has a proper interest in the law being upheld. And the trustees would, of course, be misappropriating charity funds if the charity did not have an interest in the outcome.

Second, taking legal action in the courts to procure that the law is upheld is not political in charity law terms. The politics of this were determined in Parliament when the Hunting Act 2004 was passed. Enforcement of the law is quite another matter. I expect that the RSPCA trustees are motivated by a desire to see that this particular law is enforced and they have every right to do so if they take the view that the law was enacted to prevent cruelty to animals and that to enforce it is likely to prevent such cruelty.

Mr Hart' s real concern is more likely with the very existence of the Hunting Act 2004 and, rather than denigrating the lawful activities of charities, he should use his position as a Member of Parliament to seek to enact the laws that he thinks should govern our society.

Sir Robin Bogg
CEO
BUBB
17 Jan 2013

It may just be that instead of being politically motivated, the RSPCA is prosecuting hunts in areas where there are hunts. Which are far more likely to be in Tory areas. You don't tend to get them in inner city Labour strongholds apparently despite there being urban foxes.

Not that there is a strong political edge (or personal conviction) to Hart's comments and actions of course. Which are ultimately publicly funded.

And you can tell him I said so.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

CAN and Senscot part ways with UnLtd over its vision for a 'private-profit social sector'

18 Sep 2014

Social enterprise support organisations CAN and Senscot have ended their relationship with UnLtd, set...

Governance code 'no longer fit' for large charities, says CFG trustee

17 Sep 2014

The sector’s code of good governance is no longer fit for purpose for large and complex charities and...

Ring-fencing public service contracts for charities is a bad idea, NPC tells Labour

16 Sep 2014

NPC has warned that introducing charity-only contracts is the “wrong approach to take”, in its response...

Over £11m raised for MND Association and Macmillan from ice bucket challenge

19 Sep 2014

The Motor Neurone Disease Association has raised £6.8m from the viral fundraising craze the ice bucket...

DEC raises £102m in its 50th year

19 Sep 2014

The Disasters Emergency Committee and its member agencies raised £102m through two appeals in the last...

London Marathon runners raise £250m in past five years

19 Sep 2014

A quarter of a billion pounds has been raised by London Marathon runners in the past five years, according...

JustGiving page for Manchester Dogs’ Home receives four donations a second

15 Sep 2014

JustGiving has said that donations going to an appeal for the Manchester Dogs’ Home following an arson...

Commission's new online charity search to launch soon after delay

15 Sep 2014

The Charity Commission’s searchable online register of charities is due to launch in beta this autumn,...

Charities warned that digital campaigns can be 'counterproductive'

9 Sep 2014

Charity digital campaigns can be counterproductive and will need to change to keep the attention of those...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<