I’ve been wondering which members of parliament are likely to speak in favour of driven grouse shooting in the debate on the subject. Their constituents might well want to give them some Firm Briefing on the facts of the matter and to give them the views of the people who elected them.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting (and Conservation – ho! ho!) seemed to be a good place to start to find some contenders.
First, a word about APPGs: there are lots and lots of them, on all sorts of different subjects, from ‘Afghanistan‘ to ‘Zimbabwe‘ and from ‘22q11 syndrome‘ to ‘zoroastrianism‘. They are like clubs at school or societies at university – a place where people with similar interests can find each other and interact outside of ‘real work’. Of course, if you are an MP showing interest in, let’s say, the Bahamas, you might find that you get an occasional trip to that location, a fact-finding trip, will be paid for so that you can pursue your interest.
Membership of an APPG doesn’t necessarily mean that you are interested in the subject – but it often does. The reason it doesn’t always is in the ‘A’ of APPG. To get one of these groups set up you need to show cross party interest and so there is a certain amount of swapping of favours which goes on – ‘We’re looking for a LibDem for our APPG – you couldn’t possibly sign up could you please? We won’t make you do anything!’.
But the APPG on Shooting (and Conservation Ho! Ho!) still seemed a good place to spot the potential strong advocates of grouse shooting. Here is its home page.
You’ll notice that BASC provides the group’s secretariat (and there is nothing wrong with that) and also provides the group’s Public Enquiry Point. Well I’m a member of the public and I had an enquiry: I’d like to know which MPs were members of the group. When I asked, the response I got from the Public Enquiry Point was that ‘All information about the all (sic) All-Party Parliamentary Groups can be found on the parliamentary website: http://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/’. Except, it seems, who are members of the group. I didn’t find the Public Enquiry point very helpful really.
Watch this space.
PS What are APPGs form the parliament website:
‘As well as taking part in formal parliamentary business, MPs are active in other areas such as within their own political parties and constituencies. They may also take part in informal work at Westminster, such as working with All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs).
APPGs are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.’