John Leech MP: ‘no manifesto commitment to shooting’

I have received a reply from Steve Webb, who is responsible for the Manifesto. No commitment to support shooting is in the current draft. I imagine that the BASC is wrong in their interpretation of events at conference.
John (by email)

John Leech MP has responded to my recent exclusive, Withington MP set to defy party on blood sports, with the reassuring email above. Knowing the Lib Dems as I do, this is as I suspected. John rightly points out elsewhere that all parties have their blood sport supporters, but it’s still disappointing that senior figures are so cosy with the shooting lobby that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation could be left with the impression that the Lib Dems will include a commitment to shooting in their manifesto.

Even so, it is extremely unlikely that blood sports supporters will ever dominate the Liberal Democrats. And should the worse happen it’s good to know that we can rely on John to pay no heed to party policy in this area, manifesto commitment or not.

BASC Political & Policy Officer, Judith Howell‘Well Mr Newton, I was there and I heard it. I’ve heard nothing since to suggest that the party has gone back on this promise.’
Judith Howell, BASC Political & Policy Officer, responding to the above.

4 thoughts on “John Leech MP: ‘no manifesto commitment to shooting’

  1. Well stephen. Who is telling the truth here? it’s all very confusing. Leech says his party boss has assured him that the BASC have got it all wrong but the BASC woman says she was there and heard it. John wasn’t there was he?

  2. It’s certainly messy. The shooting lobby is confident and obviously stronger within the Lib Dems than observers would expect. John is very firm on his own stance, which is strongly anti-blood sports.

    Had he checked in with Cowley Street before his first response to me, he’d have been able to say: ‘the BASC’s wrong, it’s a free vote and I’m anti-blood sports’. Instead he went for an ‘I don’t care what the manifesto says’ response, which was rather silly.

    Nevertheless, the BASC genuinely expects the Lib Dem manifesto to include a clause in support of shooting. I find it hard to believe that’s the case, but then I hear they let Eurosceptics in nowadays, so anything is possible.

  3. Maybe John will call for a referendum on it like he wants a referendum on the casino or is it the congestion charge . Or is he against a referendum on the congestion charge or is it the European Treaty he supports a referendum on , or is he against that, no wait he is against that but infavour of a referendum on European membership or is he?..oh! never mind it doesn’t matter what he’s in favour of or not , he’s a Lib Dem and therefore he’s never going to be called on to actually do anything.

  4. I believe that if you look at the division for the Hunting With Dogs legislation – something which my lurchers have not been able to bring themselves to read – you will find a very curious division from the Lib Dems.

    They had 52 men, well mostly men, then. So can you guess how these people voted?

    On the timing question I believe the Libdemologists are working on a load of reviews, reporting in March, but if there is an election before then then their policies will be what they used to believe and not what they are about to believe.

    Hilariously Sarah Teather tried to use this dithery hiatus to dodge questions re changes to policy on top up fees. Andrew Neill was then able to show her a copy of a policy paper she had not even seen that Cleggy’s lot were bandying about.

    And that is supposedly her portfolio!

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