Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:43 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water) 6:43 pm, 21st November 2018

It is an honour to sum up what has been a fantastic debate with good contributions on both sides of the House, and I echo the words expressed across the House about those fishermen who risk their lives to catch the fish we put on our tables. In particular, I add my thanks to the rescue services, the coastguard and the RNLI, who are true heroes indeed.

We do not oppose the Bill. We know that the UK needs a fishing system outside the common fisheries policy after we leave the EU—we do not dispute that—but it is clear that the Government still have some way to go before the Bill satisfies both sides of the House. The Labour party intends to work with the Government to ensure we have a good Bill that is fit for purpose. Fisheries Bills do not often trouble the House of Commons so we need to make it a good one.

There are some good things in the Bill, but there are far too many missing pieces. It smacks of a measure hurriedly prepared and pushed out too quickly by a Government who were aware of the approaching deadline of Brexit. It needed more work before its publication, and it would have benefited from a round of pre-legislative scrutiny, but as Ministers chose not to do that, I think they should not be surprised that there have been so many proposals for amendments today, and that there will be more in Committee.

The Bill gives the Government a chance to make real the promises made by the Leave campaign. So far, big promises have not been matched by delivery. Fishing communities, in Plymouth and across the country, do not want grand promises; they need honest and clarity from the Government, and they want those to be delivered.