Ministers have been accused of trying to “exempt the bloodsport passions of their big donors” from new coronavirus restrictions, as it emerged that groups of more than six people will be allowed to go hunting.
Government guidelines published as the “rule of six” came into force in England provide an exemption for shooting – including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate licence – as an organised sport that can be done with more than five others.
But Labour said the exemption “shows where this Government’s priorities really lie”.
Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said: “Across the country, people are struggling to get Covid-19 tests anywhere near their homes.
It is clear there’s one rule for the Cabinet and their mates and another for the rest of usLuke Pollard, shadow environment secretary
“But the Conservatives are distracted with trying to exempt the bloodsport passions of their big donors from coronavirus regulations. It 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.
The guidance states: “When participating in organised sport or licensed physical activity, you must not gather in groups of more than 6 before and after the activity. You must also ensure you socially distance from people you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) wherever possible.
“When playing sports informally with people you don’t live with, you must limit the size of your group to 6. It is illegal to do so in a larger group and you may be fined.”