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TEN trigger-happy Tory MPs have received nearly £22,000 worth of donated shooting days and training over the past five years, the Star can reveal today.
Since the beginning of 2015, a total of £21,753 in shooting days, hotel stays, and an instructor’s course were accepted by the MPs, according to the parliamentary register of members’ interests.
The revelations come mere days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson exempted shooting groups from the “rule of six.”
The restriction has outlawed socialising in groups of more than six people since Monday, in response to rising cases of coronavirus, but groups of up to 30 people are allowed to congregate to shoot animals.
The register revealed donations from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), as well as stays at the Grade II-listed stately home Hoar Cross Hall spa hotel, and named private donors.
One MP received at least £7,450 worth of shooting outings from private donors over the last five years.
Sir Bernard Jenkin received shooting days in 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020 worth a total of £6,000 from private donor Richard Matthews.
In 2017, the Harwich and North Essex MP also received a shooting day worth £800 from landowner Jonny Minter.
He also received a shooting day worth £650 from EPC United Kingdom plc in 2017, and another shooting outing from farmer David Gibbon in 2016.
Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, and Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown received the most donations from BASC, with £2,424.18 worth of shooting days each in total over 2015, 2016 and 2017.
North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin received a shooting day worth £953 from BASC in 2018, and another worth £825.45 in 2017.
Mr Wiggin also received an instructor’s course worth £1,150 from the Association of Professional Shooting Instructors in 2018. Since 2006, he has been president of that association.
Jonathan Djanogly received a shooting day worth £825.45 from BASC in 2017, and another worth £953 in 2018.
From 2017, the Huntingdon MP has been unpaid chairman of the British Shooting Sports Council.
Nigel Adams, the MP for Selby and Ainsty, received a shooting day worth £953 from BASC in 2018.
Sir Edward Garnier, a former MP and now a Lord, received a shooting day worth £772 from BASC in 2015.
Sherwood MP Mark Spencer received a £670 shooting day donation from BASC in 2017.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney and Sir Gerald Howarth, Aldershot MP until 2017, each received a £826.73 shooting day donation from BASC in 2016.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, told the Morning Star: “Our polling shows that the majority of people oppose the shooting of ‘game’ birds for sport.
“Many will be horrified to learn that their MPs are taking these free trips to blast animals out of the sky.
“The public are increasingly waking up to the cruelty inherent in the shooting of millions of grouse, partridges, and pheasants every year.
“Most want to observe and enjoy nature and wildlife in the countryside, not kill it.”
The League told the Star that the grouse-shooting season started on August 12, the partridge-shooting season began on September 1 and the pheasant-shooting season will begin on October 1.
During Prime Minister’s Questions today, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner asked PM Boris Johnson why the government was prioritising the shooting season amid a pandemic by exempting shooting groups from the “rule of six”
She said: “I suppose that is good news for people like the Prime Minister’s friend who paid for a luxury Christmas getaway to a Caribbean island and funded his leadership campaign, and just so happens to own two grouse-moor estates.”
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