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The government has exempted grouse shooting and hunting from new coronavirus restrictions, as a sweeping ban comes in on meeting in groups of more than six. The new restrictions limit social gatherings to just six people, but there are however exceptions for events including weddings, funerals and organised sports.
The meeting however was cancelled shortly before it was due to take place.
Insiders told the media outlet the meeting had been scrapped to avoid protests from ministers and that the word "outdoor activity" was inserted into the legal text, paving the way for activities such as grouse hunting to be exempt.
Another source said the issue held up the publication of the regulations until late Sunday night despite them coming into force from Monday.
Guidance on the rules, published by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that "shooting including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate licence" counts as a "sport or organised outdoor activity". Ministers still need to clarify if foxhunting is part of the exemption list.
Former minister Tracy Crouch told the website that the move amounted to "topsy-turvy prioritisation" when MPs were having to deal with queries about "choirs, community bands, and addiction therapy groups".
But Labour said the exemption "shows where this Government's priorities really lie".
"It is clear there's one rule for the cabinet and their mates and another for the rest of us".
Other physical activities that can be done in groups of more than six include team sports such as football, hockey and netball, as well as sailing, angling and polo. "However, the exemption will allow shooting to operate under COVID-safe guidance".
The Cabinet Office has been approached for comment. "It is illegal to do so in a larger group and you may be fined".
Which is something most of you do on a regular basis, right?