Why did the House of Lords ever have a rifle range?

Plus: Who’s not paying their taxes, immigration in Denmark, and votes and prayers

21 February 2015

9:00 AM

21 February 2015

9:00 AM

Gun lords

The House of Lords shooting range is to be turned into a cupboard, having previously survived an attempt by Labour MPs in 1997 to turn it into a crèche.
— The range was constructed in 1916 for the Palace of Westminster Rifle Club, which managed to convince the Lord Great Chamberlain that rifle clubs were ‘a means of promoting a stronger sense of citizenship among members’.
— The motive was not to train lords for front but to help them practise for the annual Lords vs Commons shooting match, held at Bisley since 1862. An early participant was the Maharajah of Vizianagram, who in 1875 provided £400 to make a trophy for the event.

Minding the gap

Ed Balls told us to ask for a receipt from the man who cuts our hedge for a tenner — in the hope it might tackle tax evasion. Who is most to blame for the ‘tax gap’ — the difference between what HMRC theoretically should collect and what it collects (according to HMRC estimates)?

Small and medium enterprises £15.1bn
Large businesses £9.3bn
Criminals £5.4bn
Individuals £4.6bn
Total £34.4bn

This is 6.8% of government revenues

The state of Denmark

The attacks in Denmark raised questions about the country’s liberal immigration policy. Who migrates to Denmark and how do the numbers compare with the UK’s?
— Denmark received 85,285 immigrants in 2014, equivalent to 1.5% of population.
— The UK received 583,000 migrants in the year to June 2014, 0.9% of population.

Source of immigrants to Denmark:
Faroes 1,053
Greenland 2,451
Western countries 53,805
Non-western countries 27,976

Votes and prayers

The House of Bishops wrote a 52-page letter to congregations urging them to vote in the general election but not advising them which way. Are Christians generally more left- or right-wing?
Average vote share, elections 1959–2010:

Anglicans 48%
Catholics 31%
Non-conformists 41.5%
Church of Scotland 38%
No religion 33%

Source: Theos

Anglicans 35.5%
Catholics 54%
Non-conformists 37%
Church of Scotland 37%
No religion 43%

Source: Theos

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Show comments
  • mark

    Wish I could get somebody to cut my hedge for a tenner

    • wycombewanderer

      I wish I could defraud the taxpayer by changing my principle residence multiple times, claiming a tenner back on expenses is small beer to a thief like Balls!

  • mackinlay

    When I was posted to the Queen Alexanders Military Hospital, Millbank, I belonged to the Small Bore Club (now I a large Bore) I should write Small Bore Target Shooting Club, we had our own range under the parade ground of the Royal Military Medical College Millbank, and we shot in the immediate area with the Tate Gallery’s Small Bore club opposite the hospital (both of which had been specially built large air raid shelters in 1939-40),

    The Houses of Parliament Shooting Club shown, had in fact been extant for many years prior to the Great War and used by the members of both Houses, and the Parliamentary staff (it was only a 30 yard range of a reasonable sized room with four shooting galleries dug into the clay.)

    In my time 1967-68, there were another 22 similar ranges/clubs within walking distance, bank and insurance company HQs (that also trained their staff in the use of pistols), a couple of gentleman’s clubs, a couple of TA drill halls, and the remained in various businesses. They all the descendants of the Volunteer Rifle Movement (the forerunner of the TA) in the 1850’s>). And the Parliament Club was extant from the 1850’s, and a couple of its oldest members had been shooting there in the 1890’s. All the clubs were in active competition against all, and had a very good thriving social life, and separate club rooms, and in use every night and weekend. Part of British social history sadly now long gone.

    In regard to Denmark the figures of inward migration give a false image, the vast majority of migrants from other Western European countries are in fact various types of Muslims or Black African animists. This has been the subject of much discussion in the Danish press for quite some years. Yours, Mackinlay

  • Terry Field

    Cash in hand makes taxation a load of balls