Many constituents have contacted me in relation to grouse moorlands and hen harriers. I am aware of the forthcoming debate but unfortunately am not able to attend. I will certainly follow the Minister’s comments with interest.

This is clearly a subject about which constituents feel strongly and which very much divides public opinion. My own belief is that game management plays an important role in the rural economy, generating income and employment in our rural communities. For example, shooting contributes in the region of £2 billion to the rural economy and supports the equivalent of around 70,000 full-time jobs. I will therefore continue to support shooting sports and the rights of all those who wish to use firearms safely and in accordance with the law.

I know that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are looking seriously at this matter, and will have listened to public concern. They have recently published the Hen Harrier Action Plan, which you can read in full here:

I am aware that the Scottish Government has introduced vicarious liability for certain wildlife offences committed by a landowner's employee or agent. The Law Commission has considered this issue, but recommended that it should instead be made an offence knowingly to cause or permit a wildlife crime to be committed by someone under a landowner's control. I have been assured that the Government will fully consider this in its response to the Law Commission's report.