27 April 2016 – The Countryside Alliance has called on the government not to dither over accepting Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP’s shooting law amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, which is currently before parliament.
The Alliance’s press release about yesterday’s Parliamentary debate regarding the amendments neatly sums up proceedings, and UK Shooting News sees no need to duplicate the effort.
Responding for the Government, the Minister Karen Bradley MP, said the priority of this Bill was closing loopholes to prevent “exploitation by criminals” and did not want to include these amendments. However, the Minister did assure Mr Clifton-Brown that the amendments would not be kicked into the long grass and said “we will study [these] new clauses further” and they may be taken forward as part of the codification process.
Clifton-Brown is an FAC and SGC holder, as he mentioned during the debate, which can be read through Hansard. He is also chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on shooting and conservation. The amendments were translated into plain English by UK Shooting News last week.
The situation in Parliament at present is that the sensible amendments tabled by Clifton-Brown are supported by a few backbench MPs who were present in Parliament during the debate. Labour, however, opposes them and the government doesn’t really want to go ahead with them either – while denying that it plans to kick them into the long grass. Under pressure, however, the government might be persuaded to help support shooting.
UK Shooting News advises shooters to hold off for now on writing to MPs and demanding they support Clifton-Brown’s amendments. This is an occasion where the shooting organisations should take the lead in ensuring the amendments are not voted down or withdrawn. After all, you pay your membership dues for precisely these occasions.
If the government can be persuaded to support shooting by the organisations’ carefully targeted efforts, then we should give them space to do that.
If, on the other hand, the government tries to kill off Clifton-Brown’s amendments, that will be the time for a letter-writing campaign to local MPs.