This is interesting. Early Day Motions are a bit like e-petitions for MPs! They have no necessary influence on anything and yet can raise the profile of an issue.
And there is one entitled Action Plan for Hen Harriers which has the following text;
‘That this House welcomes the DEFRA plan for brood management trials for Hen Harriers; notes the support of Natural England, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, National Gamekeepers Organisations and National Parks; and expresses the desire that licensing this trial will deliver important evidence that will lead to self-sustaining and well-dispersed breeding populations of Hen Harriers across the UK to be recorded, collated and put to good use.‘
EDMs can be signed by all MPs but ministers and shadow ministers rarely do sign them.
EDMs usually are proposed by a cross-party group of MPs – this one isn’t. The four proposers are DUP MPs which is fascinating in itself. One of the proposers is the strongly pro-shooting Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford.
At present this support for the ridiculous and highly controversial issue of brood meddling has only five supporters – the four DUP proposers and an SNP MP from Dundee.
I expect we shall see some of the Conservative MPs who spoke in favour of grouse shooting sign up too – but maybe not. I would be quite surprised and very disappointed if any Labour MPs apart from Kate Hoey (Countryside Alliance) support this EDM, but we shall see.
The Lib Dems? They shouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. There are an awful lot of RSPB members in LibDem constituencies.
This looks to me to be a foolish move by someone – maybe by Jim Shannon encouraged by the less bright supporters of grouse shooting. If it gets much support it should be very obvious that it is almost entirely Conservative support. I look forward to scores of Tory MPs signing it and few opposition MPs – that would focus the mind of politicians on this issue and increase the chances that it will be an election issue.
I believe that an MP can change their mind and remove their name from an EDM – if your MP signs this EDM you should consider contacting them to voice your disapproval and put them on the spot.
I’ll watch this space and give you occasional updates.