Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:26 pm, 21st November 2018

I do not believe that is the right interpretation. I do recognise that a number of colleagues across the House have concerns about the backstop arrangement, but let me underline one point. Under the backstop arrangement, were it ever to come into place, the United Kingdom would be an independent coastal state. Some people have read the withdrawal agreement and taken it to mean that somehow the common fisheries policy would be extended if the backstop were to come into operation, and that we would not have control over our territorial waters and our exclusive economic zone. That is not the case. Even in the event of the backstop coming into operation, we will be an independent coastal state, and fishermen, whether they are in Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the United Kingdom, will be able to take advantage of the additional fishing opportunities that arise as a result.