EPIC FAIL 3 – MPs and their constituents

Given that this is the last day of life, if you call that living, of the e-petition in support of grouse shooting (currently standing at 25,320 signatures), it is interesting to look back to the debate in parliament and the MPs who spoke or intervened in that debate.

Here are two lists of MPs, a sadly short list of MPs who expressed concerns about grouse shooting (not necessarily in favour of a ban) and a much longer list of MPs, many of whom were gushingly enthusiastic about grouse shooting. The lists are colour-coded by the political affiliation of the MPs. Those MPs who appear to be representing the views of their constituents are shown in bold.  Each MP line has two numbers on it – first the number of signatures in favour of banning driven grouse shooting and second the number of signatures in favour of grouse shooting for their constituency:


MPs expressing concern about driven grouse shooting:

Caroline Lucas (Green, Brighton Pavilion) 474, 7

Richard Arkless (SNP, Dumfries and Galloway) 330, 104

Kerry McCarthy (Lab, Bristol East) 299, 5

Angela Smith (Lab, Penistone and Stocksbridge) 266, 69

Rachael Maskell (Lab, York Inner) 263, 18

Holly Lynch (Lab, Halifax) 186, 20

Lisa Cameron (SNP, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) 169, 22

Stephen Timms (Lab, East Ham) 49, 2


MPs apparently in favour of driven grouse shooting:

Rishi Sunak (Con, Richmond) 323, 542

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Con, Cotswolds) 288, 347

Richard Benyon (Con, Newbury) 196, 188

Nigel Adams (Con, Selby and Ainsty) 226, 141

Bill Wiggin (Con, North Herefordshire) 271, 126

Nick Herbert (Con, Arundel and South Downs) 324, 108

Henry Bellingham (Con, North West Norfolk) 244, 106

Antoinette Sandbach (Con, Eddisbury) 173, 96

Therese Coffey (Con, Suffolk Coastal) 370, 84

Andrew Bingham (Con, High Peak) 569, 72

Chris Davies (Con, Brecon and Radnorshire) 244, 70

Julian Sturdy (Con, York Outer) 263, 52

Nicholas Soames (Con, Mid Sussex) 220, 43

Craig Whittaker (Con, Calder Valley) 870, 31

Simon Hart (Con, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire) 180, 30

Jonathan Djanogly (Con, Huntingdon) 237, 29

Richard Drax (Con, South Dorset) 248, 28

Steve Double (Con, St Austell and Newquay) 234, 24

Jim Shannon (DUP, Strangford) 72, 22

Gerald Howarth (Con, Aldershot) 138, 20

Danny Kinahan (UUP, South Antrim) 89, 17

Charles Walker (Con, Broxbourne) 85, 8



Just a few comments:

The debate split along party lines – except that the Lib Dems didn’t turn up at all!

All 8 MPs expressing concern over driven grouse shooting were in tune with their constituents (at least as far as their responses to these two petitions are concerned) but only 2 out of 22 MPs speaking in favour of grouse shooting had any reason to believe that there was a majority view of that nature amongst their constituents.

Overall, those 8 MPs expressing concern were speaking on behalf of 2016 of their constituents and against the expressed wishes of only 247 of their constituents.

Those 22 MPs expressing support for driven grouse shooting were speaking on behalf of 2184 of their constituents and against the wishes of 5864 of their constituents. All of these MPs were either Conservative or unionists from Northern Ireland.

Both Rachael Maskell (former Shadow Defra Sec) and Therese Coffey (Defra minister) were constrained on what they could say, as they were doing their jobs at the time.

Simon Hart MP is the Chair of, and a paid consultant for, the Countryside Alliance.

Craig Whittaker’s Calder Valley constituency provided the highest number of signatures supporting a ban of driven grouse shooting, almost certainly because of local views that flooding there had been exacerbated by moorland management on nearby grouse moors, and below average support for grouse shooting.  For whom was he speaking in the debate? Perhaps for the grouse moor managers whom he visited to be briefed ahead of the debate rather than his constituents?

Charles Walker ought to invite the mere 8 of his constituents who agree with his view round for a meal at his house.


When the public is asked there is a strong call for driven grouse shooting to be banned and little support for grouse shooting to be protected. A few Conservative MPs and this government are the keenest advocates of driven grouse shooting whatever the views of the electorate as a whole and those of their constituents in particular.


See also EPIC FAIL 1 and EPIC FAIL 2

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27 Replies to “EPIC FAIL 3 – MPs and their constituents”

  1. Just my opinion.Those tory’s voting against their constituents wishes shown by the difference in numbers are a disgrace but unfortunately in our society MPs almost always vote and speak politically.
    I just wish that at this time Labour would get a grip and get creditable politicians as leader and in the cabinet to give everyone a choice in any election.
    Sorry but Jeremy fails on all accounts.

    1. You are actually wrong here, and whilst this is not a platform upon which to discuss the leader of the Labour party, I would comment that if you do your research instead of believing the lies and spin in the mainstream media, you will find that Jeremy Corbyn is every inch the leader we all need. He has also been a member of the LACS since he was a teenager. He is strongly against animal cruelty and one of his pledges is to make lives better for animals when he is PM. Unless people like you get behind him and vote Labour in the next GE, we will have wall to wall Tories for the foreseeable future.

      1. ‘you will find that Jeremy Corbyn is every inch the leader we all need’

        I’ve done my research thanks. Nice man who is very well intentioned but a very poor party leader, and ultimately not that bright. He won’t be around much longer, Copeland isn’t looking good, and they will only win Stoke by virtue of a combination of Nutter’s Walter Mitty act and his paymasters appalling twitter outbursts.

        1. ‘you will find that Jeremy Corbyn is every inch the leader we all need’

          Polls are now showing Corbyn’s Labour party with HALF the support of the tories amongst working class voters – that’s stunning to be frank. And more than 50% of labour voters disapprove of him as leader which is also a pretty grim figure.

          1. I wonder if Corbyn, McDonnell or Milne are that bothered by the polls? They don’t seem to care about mounting any form of effective opposition in Parliament, and appear content in turning the Labour party into an ineffective protest movement that speaks largely to itself.

      2. Labour is supposedly “opposed to all forms of animal cruelty and damage to environment” but is prepared to do very little about it. I have repeatedly written to my Labour MP but have received little more than platitudes in response. She didn’t attend the debate on DGS or the recent debate on the ivory market as she had other priorities. If Corbyn is so strongly against animal cruelty why do we see so little action? Like his support for the EU remain campaign it is at best luke-warm and ineffectual.

      3. Patricia,I did not intend to create a platform to discuss the labour leader but it is relevant to the fact that Labour appears to be more wildlife friendly and there are millions like myself I feel sure who would vote Labour or at least consider doing so if quality politicians were in place as leader and in the cabinet.
        However good you think Jeremy is we who would consider voting Labour and change alliance will never do so while he is leader.I would suggest you need us millions before the next election.We desperately need a good candidate to have the guts to challenge him and get in charge of the party or you can have at least a decade in the doldrums of just having a shadow cabinet.

  2. I hope that people in these MPs constituencies will remember all this come the next election.

  3. Simon Hart MP, when he is voting on animal matters, has a huge conflict of interest. He has recently had a pay rise from the Countryside Alliance, bring his salary from that org up to £48K for 8 hours unspecified work a week. How he manages to get away with that use to be a source of wonderment to me. Not anymore, however, when I see how regularly the hunts flout the law, and their minions attack anti hunting protestors and the police turn a blind eye to both, nothing surprises me any more in the UK.

    1. “the police turn a blind eye to both,”

      There was a massive rucus near me involving the Cheldon Buck Hounds – who chase deer from woodland and shoot them – and Devon Hunt Sabs. We then have the hunt sabs crowing about how the police don’t investigate it. The reason the police cannot fully investigate is that the Hunt sabs refuse to hand over the video evidence they have – or give them their identity.

      So we have an organisation involved in violence – either on the receiving or giving end or possibly both. They post edited and partial footage on the internet and yet they refuse to give the original video to the police – why might that be?

      1. Firstly, your contention is a lie. Hunt sabs regularly hand over video footage to the police across the country: if they think it is usable. Secondly, the violence is massively one way: from hunt supporters towards sabs and LACS observers. Thirdly, why should private individuals be doing the police’s job for them? The police seem only to be interested in protecting the criminal behaviour of the hunts and ignoring the criminality of the shooting industry.

        Your final, disgusting, paragraph identifies you for the sort of person you really are: Sabs by the nature of their activities are anti-violence. That you choose to conflate their attempts to ensure the law is upheld with the violence of the criminals in hunting and shooting shows that you are a stranger to the truth or a member of that criminal fraternity.

        1. A lie? I am just re iterating what the police have said – that the Hunt Sabs wont give them the video evidence they have.

          Are you suggesting the police are lying or I am?

          As far as Upholding the law – the Cheldon Buckhounds are complying with the law which protects deer hunting as I am sure you well know – they are chasing deer out of woodland with dogs and then shooting them – isn’t that what you want?

        2. Sabs are basically just hunters that won’t pay a cap – they get off on it just as much – two sides of the same coin.

    2. Whether or not this is legal, it is corruption. Romainians have been out in the streets to get policies changed in recent weeks. The UK needs to get angrier about such shady, even if legal, deals.

  4. Good work once again Mark, however I disagree with you on one point. I believe Charles Walker ought to invite the 85 constituents round for a meal at his house by way of an apology.

  5. I don’t think it should come as a surprise that MP’s from certain parties only vote with personal interests at heart. I have long since lost the illusion that we live in a democracy.

  6. Really good to see the figures broken down like this, thanks Mark. It’s all part of the usual blurb for a MP to say that they will stand up for the minority, hats off to Craig Whittaker for taking it to the extreme! One would hope that his stance is remembered at the next election by the majority. I am hoping my tory MP, who completely ignored my correspondence ahead of the debate, comes knocking at my door seeking my vote at the next election.

  7. “The debate split along party lines ” – what debate? If you are talking about the debate on whether to ban driven grouse shooting it seems to me your analysis which uses MPs who have ‘expressed concern’ is somewhat disingenuous.

    1. I don’t really get your point here Giles. Of the MPs that were sufficiently interested in the topic to turn up and speak, 100% of those who spoke against driven grouse shooting were from parties other than the Conservative Party and 100% of those who spoke in support of grouse shooting were either from the Tory Party (20/22) or one of the flavours of Ulster Unionism (2/22). In what way is that not splitting along party lines?

      1. As far as I am aware the debate was about whether or not to ban Driven Grouse Shooting not whether or not one is for or against it. What Mark has done is give two lists one of which he says expressed concerns about DGS and one of whom he says expressed concerns. Then he is claiming this is how the debate ‘split’ – but it isn’t.

        If you made lists on how the debate actually did split – ie pro or against a ban then you would see it DIDN’T split along party lines as Mark claims it did. His claim is simply false.

        It’s perfectly possible to not be in favour of a ban but express concerns about DGS as Mark himself acknowledges.

        It’s important to remember that one can be against something but not in favour of banning it. One can also be against something on balance while seeing pros and cons and visa versa. There are not merely two diametrically opposed positions on this issue.

          1. Well Mark in your view in the debate was there a split on party lines over whether or not to ban Driven Grouse Shooting?

          2. Giles – do you really? Was someone twisting your arm up your back?

            I have to say I think you are… no I don’t have to at all. See how easy it is.

          3. No. How many of those labour and green MPS explicitly supported a ban? It seems to me hard to believe that you really believe the debate on a ban was split on party lines. I think you are trying to mislead people that it was. I’m sorry to say this because I think normally your blogs are pretty honestly held views.

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