“@NaturalEngland must be held accountable for its ignorant decision and the damage it has caused.”
Sir Nicholas Soames MP agreed, adding that the situation was a “shambolic, inexcusable, hopeless c–k-up”.
The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on shooting, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, called for Michael Gove to look into what happened.
He told The Telegraph: “What happened was that Natural England were responsible for it and didn’t keep reviewing it in a proper matter.”
The MP said the matter should be investigated “because it’s an almighty shambles really. [Gove is] well aware of it, I’ve spoken to him several times about it but he needs to keep a good control on it.
“Clearly the Acting Chair at the time is responsible, this was Natural England’s reponsibility and they dropped the ball.
“It just displayed a lack of organisation and a lack of competence.”
It is understood that Natural England will be rolling out the new licences as soon as possible, and that it will be reviewing the licencing system as a whole in the summer.
A spokesperson for the British Association of Shooting and Conservation said: “We have called for Michael Gove to investigate why this was allowed to happen and what will be done to ensure it does not happen again.