Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 7th December 2005.

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Photo of William McCrea William McCrea Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:11 pm, 7th December 2005

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that. France is supposedly regarded as the great European, yet it always finds a way around European legislation, whether it affects farmers, fishermen and so on. We simply ask for a level playing field in Europe. If that is good enough for France, there is no reason why it cannot be done. Ministers often tell us, "We can't do these things." How can the great European leaders of France do them? If the French Government can do it, why cannot it be done to save our industry at a time of crisis?

The fuel crisis is in danger of overarching all the issues that I have mentioned. The industry could be crippled soon. What more could be done? I make a plea to the Minister to ensure that the forthcoming Fisheries Council bears that major socio-economic issue in mind when it reaches its decision for 2006. The fishing industry cannot sustain the imposition of any further cuts—in for example, quota and days at sea—or the unworkable technical measures. They must be resisted.

I believe that there are those in the industry who feel that there is a future. I ask hon. Members to join me in asking the Minister to ensure, through the negotiations, that he and his colleagues in Europe give our fishermen that future.