Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Labour, Penistone and Stocksbridge 4:04 pm, 21st November 2018

I am not going to give way again as many Members wish to speak.

Any failure to secure access to the single market, such as by sacrificing our access to the market in return for keeping access to our waters broadly to ourselves, will represent a betrayal and could decimate processing in areas where the jobs and economic activity it provides are vital. I am convinced that the processing side of the industry, which accounts for 64% of the employment in the sector, will not want its interests to be sacrificed on the grounds that we will give no, or very limited, access to our waters to foreign vessels.

We now have a withdrawal agreement on the table alongside the political statement, giving something of an indication of the direction of travel. This political statement however gives only the faintest glimmer of what will happen after the transition period, which is not good enough, particularly so far as fisheries are concerned. It is also true that this Bill, like the Agriculture Bill, is enabling and contains a number of Henry VIII powers. Like others in this Chamber, I worry about the use of this mechanism given the lack of effective parliamentary scrutiny that accompanies the use of statutory instruments. I therefore hope the Government will think more carefully about this Bill and allow it to be amended to ensure it gives greater clarity on the direction of travel of our fishing industry.