At special receptions organised by BASC and the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust (FACT), party spokesmen lavished praise on both shooting and fishing.

Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister for Sport, said: “I’d like to pay tribute  to BASC, and all those involved in angling for the good work they do, particularly with young people. Shooting gives opportunities for young people to get more involved in the countryside. We need to work closely with governing bodies to encourage good practice. Sport changes people’s lives. It helps them be the best that they can be.”

Vernon Coaker MP, Home Office minister responsible for firearms legislation, said: “There is a fundamental distinction between legal shooting and the illegal use of guns and I constantly have to put this point across. I commend BASC for its hard work in promoting legal, safe shooting and for promoting that responsible attitude towards guns.”

For the Conservatives, Peter Ainsworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Country sports play a major part in the life of our rural communities. All too often the link between shooting and conservation is overlooked. I’d like to highlight the work done by all those involved in shooting and angling for their work in making our countryside what it is.”