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How you can help to shape the incoming government

The Conservatives have historically been more empathetic to the countryside and rural pursuits, but Labour may take some persuading.

With the shock announcement of the general election on 4 July, BASC is calling on its members to get involved — because what will surely be a Labour government will take office on the 5th. 

BASC executive director of communications and public affairs Christopher Graffius told Shooting Times: “This election is for shooting and conservation, as it is for the country as a whole, of enormous importance for our future. The government elected on 4 July will take key decisions on the laws on shooting and firearms licensing. 

“We urge everyone with the best interests of shooting at heart to use BASC’s election webpages, which are now live, to contact their candidates and ask them to sign BASC’s election manifesto for shooting. 

“Invite your key candidates to see your shoot, club or shooting business. In our experience nothing is more successful in persuading MPs to be supportive. Whatever you do, get involved. We have a chance to shape the new government, and we must use it,” he emphasised. 

It is generally accepted that the Conservative Party has a greater empathy for rural interests, so it is inevitable that there are concerns about what a Labour government would mean for the future of the fieldsports and the rural sector. 

In February, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary Steve Reed insisted a Labour government would prohibit drag hunting and trail-hunting by closing certain “loopholes” in its first Parliamentary term (News, 10 April). 

In a separate interview around the same time, when questioned whether shooting would be banned in England under a Labour government, he said: “We have no plans whatsoever to do anything of the sort. As long as shooting is done responsibly and within the law, then shooting can continue.” 

The current Parliamentary session ended on 24 May, and Parliament was dissolved on 30 May. This means that planned new laws affecting the countryside — such as those designed to address dog attacks on livestock — have run out of time and will not now become law. 

Former Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey had brought forward the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, which would have given the police greater powers to prosecute dog owners for livestock worrying offences in England and Wales. The election called for 4 July means the Bill has been dropped.