THERESA May is facing a backlash from campaigners after confirming she will hold a free vote on whether to overturn the ban on the 'barbaric and brutal practice' of fox hunting.

The controversial activity could be made legal again after the Prime Minister, who is 'in favour' of it, said she would allow Parliament a free vote on the issue, if she remains in charge after next month's General Election.

Dr Chris Clayton, from Cheshire campaign group Fight Against the Conservative Cruelty Threats, which holds campaign days in Warrington, labelled the possibility of the ban being lifted as 'absolutely disgusting'.

He said: "It is just a fetish for a particular type of person and establishment.

"I think people have to know if they vote Conservative they are voting to allow fox hunting.

"However, a few Conservatives have their heads on the right way, you don't have to be in favour of hunting to be a Tory."

David Bowles, head of public affairs for the RSPCA, has also been critical of Mrs May.

He said: "Fox hunting is a barbaric and brutal practice that has no place in civilised society.

"Repealing the Hunting Act would not only mean a return to cruelty but would fly in the face of the opinion of the majority of the general public as 84 per cent of people say they are against re-legalising fox hunting.

"The Hunting Act was introduced to end the suffering caused to wild animals by chasing and killing them with a pack of hounds.

"Other blood sports such as dog fighting and cock-fighting have been consigned to history and nobody is pushing for those to be legalised.

"Why should the hunting of Britain's wild mammals be treated any differently?

"Over the 12 years it has been in force, the Act has already proven to be a useful piece of the legislative framework protecting wildlife in England and Wales."

A spokesman for Labour's Warrington North parliamentary candidate Helen Jones confirmed she will not be voting to overturn the ban, if re-elected on June 8.

He said: "Helen supported the ban on fox hunting when it was introduced by the last Labour Government.

"She is opposed to Theresa May's plan to lift the ban.

"If she is re-elected and the issue is brought back before Parliament she will vote against it to keep the fox hunting ban."

Tory Warrington South parliamentary candidate David Mowat has also responded.

He said: "The Prime Minister has said that she will allow a free vote on hunting at some point during the next Parliament.

"Personally, I have never been on a hunt and have no wish to join one but I don't necessarily want to ban others from doing things just because I don't like them.

"Frankly, the Hunting Act is a poorly-drafted piece of legislation, which has seen hunting continue and wastes an inordinate amount of police time."

Labour's Warrington South parliamentary candidate Cllr Faisal Rashid said he will 'definitely be voting against bringing back fox hunting if elected'.

He added: "Most people think that it is cruel and inhumane.

"I am just surprised to see Theresa May's priorities in the current economic climate.

"The ban was introduced in 2004 by the Labour Government and I fully support the party's stance on this issue."