Advance warning

100,000I wrote to the HoC Petitions Committee to find out as much as I could about when our expected debate might take place.  Here is their (very rapid) reply:







Dr Avery,

Thank you for your message. We are always here, even in the depths of August!

The petition will be considered for debate when the Committee next meets, on Tuesday 6 September. The Committee has the power to schedule debates in Westminster Hall on Monday afternoons, from 4.30pm. The slot on Monday 12 September is already taken.

The next available Monday is when the House returns from the conference recess, on 10 October. There are several petitions waiting for a slot for debate, of which yours is the most recent to pass the threshold. You can see the full list here.

Of these, you will see that two already have dates for debate in September. I’m afraid that I can’t give you a very clear idea yet of when the Committee might choose to schedule your petition for debate, since that will depend on the decisions the Committee takes on the other petitions and, to a lesser extent, on the availability of the MP who volunteers to lead the debate.

We will be in touch after the meeting on 6 September with more information – either on the Tuesday evening or the Wednesday morning. We tend to wait until we have some more concrete information before contacting petitioners – as you can see, at this stage we aren’t able to give any very helpful indications. The Committee is conscious that members of the public need to plan for attending debates, and does always try to give as much notice as possible.  In this case, the date will be agreed with at least a month’s notice, and probably more than that.


So, we should hear whether and when we will get a debate on 6 or 7 September. The debate, if we get one, will be on a Monday on, or more likely after, 10 October and in the late afternoon.  I know it is a long slog for many people, but if you signed the e-petition and want to come along then I hope you will. We could have a party afterwards! The Palace of Westminster is a fine building – it’s your parliament and you have a right to see what is going on in it.  I am very confident that if we get a debate, the committee will need to book a bigger room than usual to accommodate those people wishing to attend and to watch.

Please sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting – it has already passed 110,000 signatures so should be debated in parliament.




9 Replies to “Advance warning”

  1. Mark,. Do keep the pressure on. I’ve written to my MP, Mark Warburton, alerting him to the petition and asking him to support a debate. We should all do the same. Text below.

    Dear (insert MP name),

    Thank you for your considered response about the licence issued by Natural England to kill buzzards. You have kindly agreed to meet me at your surgery on Langport in November when I hope to discuss this matter in detail with you.

    I am writing today on a different but related subject. A petition to Parliament calling for the banning of driven grouse shooting has just exceeded the 100,000 mark ( and therefore will be considered for a debate by Parliament. I trust that you will consider this carefully and that you will support a proposal for a debate. Driven Grouse Shooting needs public scrutiny and Parliament is in an ideal position.

    For the avoidance of any doubt, I have no links to any political party. I am a member of the RSPB and the wildlife trusts, and have a keen interest in wildlife.

    As I am sure you are aware, many people are deeply concerned about the effect that driven grouse shooting has on the environment and wildlife. It is an unsustainable activity. The following links to a useful fact sheet about the decline in hen harrier numbers which is a direct result of driven grouse shooting:

    Here’s hoping you do the right thing.

    Yours sincerely and with thanks for your interest.

    1. Alick – thank you. I believe this is your first comment here and what a great one! thank you.

      I suspect there are many people, like yourself, who read this blog regularly (I’m guessing you do), have never commented before but are now looking for ways that they can help the campaign – and you have shown the way! Thank you.

      There will be plenty of examples given in future posts here about how ‘ordinary’ people can contact their MP and make a difference.

      1. Great, thanks Mark (and Alick). Over the last few days I’ve been weighing up writing to my MP. The reason I’m uncertain about it is that my MP is this guy:
        He is notorious for derailing things he doesn’t agree with by speaking at great length to ensure debates run out of time. I’ve contacted him before and he has always been responsive, though typically not in agreement with the things I enquire about. I can’t see him being supportive of our petition, but I suppose I should not prejudge and may yet be surprised!

        1. Maybe we can book him for a speaking engagement in Baltasound the night before any debate, and get him completely lashed at it. Come on, lets pass around the hat, keeping him hungover and at the other end of the country has to be a good cause.

  2. A prompt reply indeed.
    Doesn’t sound like a debate will be before the 20th Sept but that’s a good thing. The more votes and publicity we get before then the better.
    Two things seem to worry MPs. One is the loss of a vote and the second is the fear of being ‘found out’ by the masses.
    It is imperative that as many people as possible write to their MP and ask them to attend the debate. Also, try to find out if your MP has a vested interest, i.e, shoots, owns a grouse moor or has a family member who does. Far to many seem too.

    Mark, is their any point in keeping a list of MPs that you know have been written to?
    Ours is Victoria Atkins, she will also be receiving a copy of George Monbiot’s article in today’s Guardian.

    1. Paul – all good ideas.

      Lots of good ideas being suggested – don’t worry, there will be masses of briefing, advice and help available from this blog over the next few weeks. I wrote to my MP the other day – see lunchtime blog for what I wrote but I will come back to what others could write some time this evening – after I get back from London and a chat with a politician.

      1. I hope to engage with my MP, but I suspect he will not be intending to attend. Therefore, I will be looking to hit him with one or two key points to at least attempt to pique his interest and, hopefully, gain his support.

        We will not achieve our desired end result at the forthcoming debate, but we can ensure that the debate marks the beginning of the end for driven grouse shooting in the UK.

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