Tory MPs demand gun compensation

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The Home Secretary last night faced Tory backbench demands for increased compensation for gun users on the eve of today's second reading debate in the Commons for the Government's Bill to ban all handguns above .22 calibre.

Michael Howard met a delegation of gun enthusiasts led by the Tory backbencher Jerry Wiggin and other senior Tory MPs. The Sportsman's Association, which is campaigning against the bill, said the cost of compensation was at least pounds 300m and could rise to pounds 500m.

Home Office sources said there were legal fears that a precedent could be created which could allow other groups affected by legislation to claim compensation, such as abattoirs hit by measures to curb BSE. Colin Brown