The EEC Commission has submitted to the Council two working documents containing its suggestions for the development of the common fisheries policy in the light of likely changes in international law. Her Majesty's Government have indicated their readiness to accept these as a basis of discussion while making it clear that they would not fully meet the needs of the United Kingdom industry. The Commission's suggestions will be discussed further by the Council in the near future.
Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the Government, having already surrendered the initiative, will accept nothing less than an exclusive coastal band of 50 miles for our own fishermen? Will he confirm that earlier this week British negotiators established this requirement for all our coastal waters, including those off Devon and Cornwall?
I reject the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that we have in any way failed to do our duty in the negotiations. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has been making our position quite clear in Brussels, and he will be making a statement shortly. He has said that we want to ensure that any variations of the limits have regard to historical and regional factors. When I was in the South-West two weeks ago I heard the representations of our fishermen, and our case will be deployed effectively in Brussels by all the Ministers concerned.