[6th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 12:08 pm on 10th January 2019.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:08 pm, 10th January 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have already said that we wish to embrace higher standards for plastic, waste and resources, but there is another big opportunity, which I know he is very keen on us taking as we leave the European Union—the opportunity to take back control of our exclusive economic zone and our fisheries, and to ensure that the environmentally damaging and economically wasteful common fisheries policy ends.

The Scottish National party, which has many talented Members, some of whom are in the Chamber, is committed—[Interruption.] I will not blight their electoral prospects by naming them and explaining how much I admire them. The SNP is committed to staying in the European Union and the common fisheries policy, in direct defiance of the Scottish Government’s own analysis, which points out that there could be billions of extra pounds and 5,000 extra jobs in the Scottish economy if we left the common fisheries policy. The leader of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation told the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs yesterday that he was suffering “foot-stamping frustration” at the Scottish Government’s inability to seize that opportunity.

Why do the Scottish Government want to stand in the way of 5,000 new jobs being created? Is it ideology? Are they placing separatism above the true interests of Scotland? [Hon. Members: “Always!”] I hear cries of, “Always” from Scottish Conservative colleagues. I fear that, despite my respect for our Scottish Government colleagues in so many ways, my Scottish Conservative colleagues are absolutely right. Those jobs will be created only if we embrace the opportunities of being outside the common fisheries policy.

It is not just in fisheries that jobs can be created. Outside the common agricultural policy, we will be able to embrace methods of productivity that improve our food and drink sector—our biggest manufacturing sector—and provide new jobs, new investment and new technology. It is also the case that, with environmental services and our energy, dynamism and innovation—including ultra low emission vehicles, which my right hon. Friend the Business Secretary has championed consistently—we can turn post-Brexit Britain into an environmental and economic superpower.