Sajid Javid drops military-style rifle ban amid backbench revolt
Sajid Javid has been forced to scrap a ban on military-style rifles amid a revolt by Tory backbenchers and DUP MPs.
The Home Secretary had to water down plans to prohibit .50 or higher calibre rifles in the long-awaited Offensive Weapons Bill.
Nearly 70 MPs signed a rebel amendment to thwart the bans – including veteran Tory Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.
Conservative rebels were also supported by the DUP in stopping the ban.
Both groups are seen to be demonstrating their strength in the Commons weeks before Theresa May attempts to get her Brexit deal through parliament.
Labour, whose MPs had been ready to vote with the government in favour of the ban, accused Mr Javid of “caving into restive backbenchers”.
Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh said: “It is staggering that the government is so weak they can’t even oass laws to ban enormously powerful anti-truck and anti-tank rifles.
“Senior officers have warned the police have no known protection against these destructive weapons and yet ministers have still caved into their restive backbenchers.”
The Government's concession was welcomed by sports shooting groups, who argued the planned legislation was disproportionate.
Sir Geoffrey, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on shooting and conservation, said: “I welcome the government’s decision. It is essential that legislation should be proportionate, based on the facts and consulted on with stakeholders.
“The home secretary is right to announce further consultations and has my full support for securing an evidence-based result on this and other firearms issues.”