Dear Mr Pursglove


Dear Mr Pursglove

May I thank you for your response to my previous letter on Fineshade Wood. I very much appreciated it and I am glad that I can agree with my local MP on a very local issue. Thank you again. Now that the weather has turned to a more reasonable and seasonal temperature I hope that you will find the time to visit Fineshade Wood fairly soon as it is looking at its very best now.


I thought I would keep you appraised of the progress of my e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting: it currently stands at over 34,000 signatures and we are still in week 7 of 26. It seems unlikely to me, but it is just possible that it will reach 100,000 signatures and receive a Westminster Hall debate which, if it did, I would hope you might attend.  Our constituency of Corby has 65 signatures to date, a little fewer than the average constituency across the country, but that is probably because of the large number of Labour voters in our marginal seat – support is highest in Tory and LibDem constituencies (and SNP and Green of course). But there has been a recent development – the European Commission has begun infraction proceedings against the UK government (against Defra in particular) for failure to implement the EU Directives on Birds and Habitats – which brings us to another subject on which you and I do not agree.

You might, though I wouldn’t wish to prejudge this matter, suggest that the EU getting involved in ticking off the UK on how English moorlands are managed is a rank example of EU interference. That isn’t how I see it. I see it as the EU pointing out to one of its member states that it should meet its responsibilities under the commitments it has made by joining the EU – commitments that the UK had a large say in shaping. And in any case, I welcome the EU prodding the UK when it falls down on its environmental obligations to protect nature because I am rather keen on nature. Maybe you would you call that red tape?

By the way, did you know that Stanley Johnson (yes, Boris’s sire) was instrumental in writing that particular red tape, the EU Habitats Directive? Stanley is also a leading member of Environmentalists for Europe. I can’t find an equivalent of Environmentalists Against Europe, can you point me in the direction of a well-reasoned environmental case for Brexit please?

In a previous response to me you suggested that if we left the EU then we could give more of our money to farmers – a suggestion that seems very odd to me and unlikely to be very popular. I notice that the NFU doesn’t seem to think it very likely either as they recently voted in favour of the Remain side of the argument.

To summarise:

  • thank you for your support for Fineshade Wood
  • please note the progress of my e-petition
  • would you like to comment on EU infraction proceedings against the government for failing to protect upland habitats?
  • can you point me towards a well-argued environmental case for Brexit, please?

Yours sincerely



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