Opinion Former Article

Countryside Alliance wins major political award

The Countryside Alliance has been declared the most "inspiring political personality" of the last ten years in the Channel 4 News political awards. The organisation won the title "for its campaigns against the fox hunting ban and its defence of rural life."

The Alliance was declared the winner at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 23rd January. Founding President Baroness Mallalieu QC and Chairman Kate Hoey MP accepted the award from actor Jeremy Irons. Ann Mallalieu quoted Shakespeare in describing her own Government as being guilty of the 'insolence of office' and warned future administrations - of whatever colour - that there is 'unfinished business' in the countryside.

The "inspiring" award was a special category in the annual political awards to mark Channel 4 News' 10th anniversary, and other shortlisted candidates included Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone. Votes were accepted by phone, text and email and the poll closed last week.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart, who also attended the ceremony, commented: "This win is a great shot in the arm for the Countryside Alliance at the start of 2008. It is clear that we were short listed primarily because of the hunting issue and our vocal campaigning style. Our ongoing tenacity and support for the hunting community will remain at the core of what we do, but Channel 4 also acknowledged our broader reach, naming our 'defence of rural life'."

"The Countryside Alliance believes that, when it comes to that defence of rural life, it's 'all of us or none of us'. This belief in unity makes last night's victory all the sweeter; the acclaim is for all of us. Everyone who has marched, signed petitions, written to their MP, volunteered or worked for the Alliance and stoically continued to participate in and defend country sports and the rural way of life for the past decade can rightly claim this award as their own."

Ends.

Note to the Editors:

· Full details are available on the Channel 4 News website: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/ political+awards+and+the+winner+is/1391547

· The awards show will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday 27th January at 7pm
· The placings for this award were:
1. Countryside Alliance
2. Anti-Iraq War Protestors
3. Alex Salmond MP
4. Tony Blair
5. Ken Livingstone
6. Martin McGuiness and Rev Ian Paisley

For further information, please contact the press office on 0207 840 9220 or 07775 938792

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