PROMINENT South Lakeland voices have demanded that “ignorant city politicians” reverse a ban on hunting.

Farmers, hunting experts and politicians are calling for a review of the ban after former Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted the 2004 Hunting Act was one of the pieces of legislation he ‘most regrets’.

In his autobiography The Journey, Mr Blair said he made a ‘fatal mistake’ by allowing the Commons to vote on a ban, outlawing hunting with hounds – a practice ‘that was integral to a way of life’.

Coniston Foxhounds master Roger Westmoreland said groups in Cumbria, including his 400 members, would now be fighting for a repeal.

“Mr Blair was very badly informed and this has led to ridiculous legislation that’s never worked,” he said. “It’s only damaged our community.

“People have been forced to turn to other methods of killing foxes to control numbers – shooting vixens in season and leaving their cubs to starve.

“Ignorant government made the decision to ban it because they had no idea about how a rural community works.”

Caroline Watson, who keeps sheep at Yew Tree Farm in Coniston, said there had been a significant increase in fox problems in the last three years.

“A large number of our lambs were killed this year and the trees and rocky environment we work in makes it difficult for professionals to control them by shooting.”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said a total ban had been counter-productive.

He said: “In craggy areas like Coniston hunting is probably a kinder method than shooting where a marksman could miss and only injure a fox.”

Michael Burton, 17, who works full-time for the hunt in Coniston said young farmers wanted the ban overturning.

But League Against Cruel Sports spokeswoman Louise Robertson said 75 per cent of people in the UK still supported a ban.

She said: “Tony Blair’s comments aren’t going to change the law.

"There’s no place for such a cruel sport in a modern society.”