The tradition among Conservative MPs of hunting their leaders for sport will not be banned, says Michael Gove.
Responding to calls from critics to ban the inhumane treatment of Tory leaders by the party’s backbenchers, frontbenchers, cabinet and party members, the Environment Secretary said it was a “delicate political balancing act.”
“On an emotional level and on a personal level, I find it difficult to understand,” Mr Gove said.
“But I also recognise that I’ve got to respect if there is expertise, which says that bringing down the leadership, done in a managed way can help the party overall then let’s just test that.”
Under the rules of the 1922 Committee, a Conservative leader is fair game for hunting within forty-two hours of selection.
Conservative MPs maintain that bringing down the leader is a sport and that without regular culls the herd could be weakened.
Critics, however, describe it as a blood sport not dissimilar to setting a pack of dogs on an exhausted fox, which is also popular among the blue benches.
One trophy hunter said, “To bring down the leader of the Conservative party is an awesome thing to do, it is a stunningly, stunningly awesome thing to do, and you can read all about it in my column in the Telegraph.”
Another told us, “I can still remember the day my uncle arrived home and proudly announced that after years of trying he had finally stuffed Margaret Thatcher. I was so proud I cried.”
While no moves will be made by the Conservatives to ban the archaic practice, some hunters have pointed out they do not always walk away with the prize.
Veteran big game hunter, Jacob Rees-Mogg says.
“These are powerful beasts, it takes patience and skill to bring one down, and some times the beast wins.
“Only last week we lost Gavin Williamson, he failed to notice which way the wind was blowing and before he knew it the leader had pounced and he was being mauled by the press.”