Fish Lorries

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st November 1991.

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Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley 12:00 am, 21st November 1991

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made to the French Government concerning the blockade of British fish lorries at Boulogne and Dieppe.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

We have raised the incident of the blockade of a fish lorry with the French authorities. It is just as serious as the interruption of meat exports.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

Was the Minister able to get down to room W6 this morning, as I did, and buy the excellent fish provided by the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) and my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), which was being sold in aid of Children in Need? If he did, he would be fortified to say to his French counterpart—as I hope he will—that British fishermen are subject to exactly the same European Community rules as French fishermen. Therefore, were there to be another blockade such as that which stopped fish lorries from Ayrshire and Aberdeen without the French force of law and order being mobilised, it would be wholly unacceptable to the United Kingdom Government.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

The answer to the first question is yes. I bought one monkfish and four kippers, to be precise. I am willing to exchange monkfish recipes, but most of mine are French.

I take the hon. Gentleman's point about blockades, whether of fish or meat. French farmers are trying to take away the livelihoods of British farmers and fishermen, instead of getting together to try to sort out the problems that afflict us all. When I next meet him I shall put that point forcefully to the French Minister, as I have in the past.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Dickens Mr Geoffrey Dickens , Littleborough and Saddleworth

Will my hon. Friend make it crystal clear to his counterpart in France that if the French people continue to block our goods, the British people might fight fire with fire by blockading frogs, snails, wine and cheese?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

A few months ago, I opened a British snail exhibition and I have introduced the English quality wine scheme. It seems that the British people can buy all the products that they want without recourse to French goods.