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Jack Layton wins over enough New Democrats to save gun registry

NDP Leader Jack Layton speaks at an Ottawa news conference on July 6, 2010.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

NDP Leader Jack Layton says he has persuaded "an overwhelming majority" of his rural caucus to vote next week to defeat a Conservative private member's bill on the gun registry.

This means there should be enough votes next Wednesday to defeat the initiative of Tory MP Candice Hoeppner, whose private members bill, C-391, would end the long gun registry.

Mr. Layton made the announcement in Regina, where he is meeting with his NDP MPs in advance of the fall session of Parliament.

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So far, only four of the 12 rural NDP MPs who had previously voted against the registry have announced they would switch their vote. Mr. Layton's remarks suggest that at least three more will make similar announcements when they return to their ridings after the Regina caucus.

Brad Lavigne, the NDP's national director, suggested the development now puts pressure on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to ensure he is able to deliver on a promise to have all of his MPs in the House to vote in favour of defeating the Conservative legislation.

The NDP plans on introducing its own private member's legislation next week, which will propose changes to the registry that alleviate rural concerns.

Earlier Tuesday, Liberal House Leader David McGuinty held a news conference in the foyer of the House of Commons claiming there are links between the federal Conservatives and a powerful U.S. lobby group, the National Rifle Association. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre later held a news conference in the same spot to deny Mr. McGuinty's accusations.

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