The Controversial Link: Tony Blair, Fox Hunting Ban, and the Alleged £1 Million Donation

In a surprising revelation, Lord Mandelson has claimed that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair banned fox hunting after receiving a substantial £1 million donation to the Labour Party from an animal rights group. This revelation adds a new layer to the longstanding debate over the motives behind the ban on this countryside pursuit.

The Donation and Alleged Pressure

According to Lord Mandelson, the animal rights organization, which remains unnamed, reportedly exerted significant pressure on Blair to ban fox hunting. The former business secretary characterized the situation as “pretty transactional,” suggesting that the ban was a condition “in return” for the substantial financial contribution.

Unveiling the Timing and Key Figures

Lord Mandelson’s claims place this alleged transaction in the context of the 1997 general election, a pivotal moment in British political history. The animal rights campaigner Brian Davies, founder of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, is pointed to as the donor who contributed £1 million to the Labour Party in 1996.

Tony Blair’s Response

In response to Lord Mandelson’s claims, a spokeswoman for Tony Blair dismissed the suggestion of a quid pro quo arrangement. She emphasized that there was “no such agreement” and highlighted the existence of diverse and passionate views within the party regarding fox hunting.

The Fallout and Blair’s Regret

The revelation stirs echoes of regret expressed by Tony Blair himself in his memoir, “A Journey,” where he acknowledged remorse over the hunting ban and its impact on rural communities. Critics argue that the ban, implemented through the Hunting Act, has proven ineffective and caused harm to the countryside and biodiversity.

Perspectives on the Hunting Ban

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, an organization opposing the hunting ban, expressed discontent with the legislation. He cited Tony Blair’s previous admission of regret regarding the ban and called for a reevaluation, suggesting that a future Labour government should address the perceived shortcomings of the Hunting Act.

Brian Davies’ Perspective

Brian Davies, who passed away in December 2022, claimed in 2019 that his donation to the Labour Party played a pivotal role in their victory and the subsequent creation of the Hunting Act. The alleged connection between the donation and the ban continues to be a point of contention.


As Lord Mandelson’s claims resurface, the controversy surrounding the fox hunting ban takes a new twist. The alleged connection between a substantial donation and a significant policy decision raises questions about the intersection of politics and financial contributions. The ongoing debate over the effectiveness of the Hunting Act and its impact on rural communities adds complexity to this chapter in British political history.

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