PRIME Minister Theresa May will reportedly abandon her Conservative general election manifesto pledge to give MPs a free vote on whether to overturn the foxhunting ban.

According to the Sunday Times, the PM will announce in early 2018 plans to permanently drop the commitment to a Commons vote.

But a Downing Street source is reported as describing the report as “pure speculation” and reiterated the government’s position that there is no vote scheduled for this session of parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, repeatedly criticised the PM for saying she was in favour of foxhunting during the election campaign.

The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto to hold a free vote.

The law, banning the use of dogs to hunt foxes and other wild mammals in England and Wales, was originally introduced by the Labour government in 2004.

It came after ex-Worcester MP Mike Foster introduced a Private Member's Bill in 1997 to try and ban fox hunting, which paved the way for the law to be introduced.

In May, after the PM set out her position, Mr Foster described it as an "odd move to make", but Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said the act had "failed".

Certain modified forms of hunting foxes with hounds are still within the law, and 'shooting foxes as vermin' also remains lawful, making the act hard to enforce.

Traditional hunt meetings are taking place in the county today, and are set to take place on Boxing Day.