In Scotland, the SNP is just short of an overall majority at Holyrood with 63 seats, down six seats from the 2011 results. One of those loses was Dr Aileen McLeod, the former Minister responsible for Land Reform, who was narrowly defeated by the Conservatives in Galloway and West Dumfries. Labour’s spokesperson for Land Reform, Sarah Boyack, also lost her seat. The new administration will have the task of implementing the Land Reform (Scotland) Act which was passed earlier this year and the recommendations of Lord Bonomy’s Review of the hunting law in Scotland.
In Wales, Labour remains the largest party but is two seats short of an overall majority, down one seat from the 2011 results. Some supporters will not be returning to Cardiff Bay and there are a lot of new faces including seven UKIP Assembly Members. The issue of countryside access is likely to be something which the new administration will have to consider and there will be continued pressure from animal rights extremists to make life as difficult as possible for those who hunt, fish and shoot.
We look forward to working with all of those who have been elected to ensure that policy reflects the interests of rural communities.