Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales) 3:38 pm, 21st November 2018

I am as baffled as my hon. Friend on that particular issue; that is for sure.

Returning to my speech, I think the context of this Bill has changed somewhat as a result of the withdrawal agreement. Some of the content of that agreement makes some of the apparent intent of the Bill a little more difficult to deliver and more dependent on negotiation and agreement with the 27 remaining members of the EU.

Having said that, let me pay tribute to the EFRA Secretary for staying the course and being determined to see things through to their conclusion. That seems to be a principle or a staying power that is somewhat lacking in his colleagues—erstwhile colleagues, I should say. They may have fallen by the wayside, weary of the march, but he carries on indefatigably. I understand that his father, as he mentioned, was involved in the onshore side of the industry, so he certainly comes to the Bill with some knowledge, but with a rather poor recall of facts if the newspapers are to be believed.

I acknowledge that the Secretary of State comes to the table with a backstory—if not a backstop—but that does not mean that he necessarily comes with the solutions the industry needs. The withdrawal agreement that was greeted with such delight on the Government Benches keeps our fishing industry in the common fisheries policy for a further two years after Brexit day, although of course our lack of membership means that the EU will decide the rules, while we have no say in them, no say in how they should be implemented and no voice in the discussions about whether the CFP is meeting its policy objectives.