Anonymous critics accused of â€˜mischief making'
Labour's Parliamentary Spokesman for Angling and Shooting, Martin Salter MP has moved to reassure Britain's 4 million anglers and shooters that their sport is safe with Labour following comments by Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for DEFRA on the Today Programme on Monday March 6th which have been deliberately taken out of context.
Martin Salter said:
â€˜Under Margaret Beckett we have seen a whole raft of pro-angling policies including measures to help control inland fisheries from cormorant predation, a plan to manage bass stocks for recreational fishing, a commitment from the Environment Agency to increase participation in angling, and of course, the publication of Labour's highly acclaimed Charter for Angling in 2005.
Margaret's comments have been deliberately misrepresented by those who have always sought to portray Labour as anti-angling. I have checked with Margaret personally and studied the transcript of her interview on the Today Programme and it is quite clear that her comments were in respect of her colleague Tessa Jowell facing â€œa trial by ordealâ€ at the hands of the media. She went on to use a well known figure of speech about how the House of Commons will always be the last remaining bloodsport in order to demonstrate the brutality of modern politics.
To claim that an interview about the plight of a Cabinet colleague under huge pressure was in fact a coded policy announcement about Labour's intentions towards angling and shooting is either extreme paranoia or simple political mischief making.'