Freedom of Information Act request reveals true cost of axeing event in Liverpool after false claims of trophy-hunting exhibitors taking part

Cancelling the British Shooting Show Liverpool cost the city £5 million, according to an email obtained by Shooting Times.

The show was cancelled in October after the intervention 
of city mayor Joe Anderson. 
The Great British Shooting 
Show had been the subject of a petition that inaccurately claimed it would feature 
trophy hunting exhibitors.

The email from Bob Prattey — chief executive of ACC Liverpool, which runs the Exhibition Centre Liverpool — to the mayor was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Shooting Times.

In the message, Bob Prattey makes a passionate defence of the decision to accept the booking and warns of the losses that would be caused by its cancellation. He wrote: “From the company’s perspective withdrawing would present several major challenges.”

As well as the loss of rental, catering and car-parking income to the centre, he also cited “larger associated lost economic impact to Liverpool hotels, restaurants, retail etc” which he estimated at “circa £5million”.

He went on to tell the mayor that the show would not feature any trophy-hunting exhibitors and that this stipulation had been built into contracts.

He also confirmed he had been in contact with the major Liverpool media outlets that had decided not to run stories opposing the show being held in Liverpool because it was “a non-story as trophy exhibitors were never going to be in our show”.

He said that local papers had no issue with the wider shooting elements of the show, saying “they didn’t raise the issue of problems with the show per se, it was only with the trophy element”.

Garry Doolan, deputy director of communications at BASC, told Shooting Times: “When this matter was being discussed by Liverpool City Council, we argued that there would be a huge financial and reputational hit for Liverpool from rejecting the show and that the scale of that hit would only emerge much later.

“It seems Mr Prattey, who had all the facts at his disposal, agreed with our analysis.”