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Massive blow for antis as Sunak takes Number 10

There is renewed political hope for fieldsports, as Britain’s new prime minister is an advocate for grouse shooting and moorland management

Rishi Sunak is the new prime minister, having won the latest Conservative leadership contest

Britain is to have its most openly and vocally pro-shooting prime minister in decades. Rishi Sunak, who represents the Yorkshire constituency of Richmond, is known to be a game Shot and an advocate for moorland management and the benefits of grouse shooting.

The appointment of the 42-year-old former Chancellor of the Exchequer was welcomed by the Countryside Alliance. Chief Executive Tim Bonner said: “As a rural MP, Rishi Sunak will know the anxieties many in the countryside face in relation to the cost of living crisis. Food security and the transition of farm support to help tackle the huge challenges of climate change and reversing biodiversity decline are also high on his Government’s agenda.”

Members of the north of England shooting community also welcomed the appointment. Yorkshire-based shooting and gundog enthusiast Barry Hoyle told Shooting Times: “The way he has become prime minister is controversial and I’m not commenting on his politics, but it is good to have a rural MP in the top job. He was a great supporter of grouse shooting when the petitions against it were brought forward.”

Sunak has appointed a number of pro-shooting and fieldsports ministers to his cabinet. Among these is former Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart, who took the post of chief whip. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt retains his post.  Hunt is another vocal supporter of grouse shooting. In 2020 he wrote: “I support grouse shooting for all its benefits to individuals, the environment and the rural economy. As you may know, shooting as a whole is worth about £2bn a year to the economy, much of it in some of our remotest communities.”

It is unclear whether chief Downing Street mouser Larry the cat will now be joined by a chief national gundog in the form of Sunak’s labrador Nova, or whether Nova will be staying in Richmond.