As David Cameron made the final tweaks to his new cabinet, across the street from Parliament, countrysports bodies met last week to consider how fieldsports might fare following the appointment of the new Government.

The Standing Conference on Countryside Sports, which comprises more than 30 fieldsports and other rural organisations, had chosen a crucial moment in the political calendar to discuss how the policy priorities of a centre-right coalition were likely to affect the countryside.

John Gardiner of the Countryside Alliance (CA) assessed Parliament’s arrivals and departures, particularly welcoming the return of the CA’s Kate Hoey and the election of Simon Hart, its departing chief executive. He also applauded the appointment of Caroline Spelman as a DEFRA minister with real understanding of the farming industry, and hinted that the new DEFRA team might make some early changes to the controversial code of practice for the welfare of gamebirds.

“The draft code contains changes that were not agreed or consulted upon by the working group and which reflected former ministers’ own views. The view of shadow ministers before the election was that they would take another look at it,” said John Gardiner.

The rest of this article appears in 19th May issue of Shooting Times.

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