Non-EEA Visas: Inshore Fishing — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:51 am on 17th July 2018.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee 9:51 am, 17th July 2018

The politics to be made out of it are in the way the Home Office does not see the economy and its needs, but sees migration as a security issue. Migration should be seen as beneficial to the economy. The Security Minister being sent to the debate is a totemic point that says it all about our dealings with the Home Office in recent years. I must be straight with the Minister about it. He is a decent fellow and probably means well, but he wears a particular Government hat and it does not help that the Security Minister is here.

The case has been made time and again by all of us—for the economy, jobs and the vibrancy of communities. The matter is a competency of the UK Government. We need them to act; it is their responsibility. They guard the power jealously and will not devolve it. We are not like Switzerland where 26 cantons hold half the visas. Everything is held centrally and it is the Government’s responsibility. The Republic of Ireland has an advantage, as Jim Shannon has told me, because it can get fishermen in when it wants.

I am not sure how much progress we will get today but I make a plea to the UK Government, whose responsibility it is—the European Union is not to blame—to move. I am able to put things more strongly than Conservative Members from Scotland, although I am sure they feel the same frustrations. The UK Government—in particular the Home Office—must move, get on with the day job and get it done, so that fishing boats can go out and get on with their day job. The Minister may be smiling, but it is vital for people that the boats get to sea, the fish are caught, and jobs and the economy get going as a result. People in my constituency are frustrated, and I hope that I convey half their anger today. We need the pen to be lifted at the Home Office, to get the boats working and the people in question into the country.