Where will the next PM stand on fieldsports?
As Conservative party members meet to debate who should be the next prime minister, Shooting Times has taken a close look at the candidates’ speeches, decision and voting records to see what position they are likely to take on shooting.
MPs’ favourite Rishi Sunak represents the North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond and is a public and prominent opponent of efforts to ban grouse shooting. Speaking against a ban on grouse shooting in 2016 Sunak showed a depth of understanding of the role of Shooting in the countryside, saying: “The real victims of a ban are not caricatures, they are ordinary working people from constituencies like mine in North Yorkshire.
“The Farmer’s wife who goes beating at the weekend so her family can make ends meet through difficult times, the young man able to make a living in the community that he loves as a gamekeeper, the publican who welcomes shooting parties with cols ales and hot pies.”
While Lizz Truss has never given such a fulsome and passionate defence of shooting in public she has spoken out in favour of the sport. In 2014 she addressed BASC members at the Conservative party conference, telling them: “I can assure you that a Conservative-majority government will be fully supportive of shooting, of fishing, of angling – and we will make sure that any potential threats to those industries are very speedily rebutted.”
A year later, she told Taste of Game: “Game is a healthy and tasty eating option and the UK is a world-leading producer of it. A Conservative government will continue to support all those who wish to shoot lawfully and who produce such great British game.”
Rishi Sunak has never held a post directly relevant to shooting and does not have a track record of relevant decisions to scrutinise. Lizz Truss was DEFRA minister for two years and in that post she was viewed as broadly pro shooting. Significantly she chose not to take forward a previous proposed ban on lead ammunition when it was in her remit.
Lizz Truss is not believed to be actively involved in shooting. However, she is an outspoken fan of cooking and eating game. Rishi Sunak is the owner of a labrador and BASC refused to confirm or deny that he takes part in game shooting.