Labour and Lib Dem conferences: MPs talk shooting

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have confirmed support for responsible shooting at rural receptions hosted by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust at the parties’ conferences in Bournemouth and Brighton.

The association is sponsoring the Rural Reception at each of the four major party conferences and will also be joined by the Angling Trust at the Conservative and Labour conferences.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Parminter, deputy leader in the Lords and spokesperson for Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “We as a party support all those involved in responsible shooting, and I personally endorse this position. I recognise the contribution shooting makes to our beautiful countryside and the rural economy. We in parliament will continue to work with stakeholders who are involved in the management of our countryside.”

Angela Smith MP, former spokesperson for Environment and Rural Affairs, told guests at the reception that shooting “clearly has a role to play” in the future of the natural environment. She said: “The Labour Party supports shooting as an activity in this country – a sport that has roots in our industrial communities such as the one I represent in Parliament. And shooting clearly has a role to play in the future of our natural environment.

“The shooting community must continue to reach out to all sides of the environment management debate – it is important we build local partnerships through open communication and dialogue. In the name of ensuring our birds of prey have a sustainable future we must make sure all sides of the debate come together to come up with solutions for problems that arise in the countryside.”

BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “I’m happy to be here today to get across how important shooting is to the countryside. Shooting contributes £2 billion and 74,000 jobs to the UK economy each year. Apart from the economic side, BASC and shooters are squarely focused on sustainable shooting. The name ‘Conservation’ in our title is a central part of who we are and what we do.

“Angela Smith’s point about working together is very important – BASC stands for responsible shooting and an evidence-based approach for problems that might arise in the countryside and I welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the Labour Party in this regard.”

The speakers at each of the forthcoming party conference are as follows:

Conservatives – Monday 5th October – Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting and Conservation.

SNP – Friday 16th October, Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Minister (to be confirmed).

Alan Jarrett will speak at the rural receptions at both conferences and a spokesman from the Angling Trust will speak at the Conservative conference.

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