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Lossiemouth

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 25 May 1977

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18.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to Lossiemouth.

Is that not a pity, considering that Lossiemouth was the home of a famous Labour Prime Minister, whose daughter, who votes for the Labour Party, still lives there? Is the Minister aware that Lossiemouth fishermen were part of the contingent that visited Brussels, dedicated to the principle that without a 50-mile exclusive limit Lossiemouth would become a ghost town? [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] It is not rubbish. Although the right to veto on the EEC fishing policy was given away by the Conservative Party and not renegotiated by his own party, does the Minister not consider that the time has come to threaten a right of veto on some other matter if we do not get a 50-mile limit for our fishemen?

If my right hon. Friend visited all the places that he is asked to visit these days, he would never be able to come to the House at all. [Interruption.] I know that some Opposition Members would like that. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of Stale who deals with fishing matters is here and will have noted what the hon. Lady has said. The Government's position on this question has been stated clearly on numerous occasions both by the Secretary of State for Scotland and by the Minister of Agriculture. I have heard about the demonstration last week and the impact made by some of the Scottish representatives.

Will the Minister encourage his right hon. Friend to spend some of the Whitsun Recess visiting Lossiemouth and other centres of the fishing industry? Is he aware that every party in the House supports the stand that the Government are taking over the common fisheries policy? Would it not therefore be valuable if the Secretary of State went around the fishing communities so as to ensure that every possible argument is presented at the next meeting, and so that our friends in Europe will come to see the exclusive control of our own 50-mile limits as an essential national interest?

The hon. Gentleman will recall that the Minister of Agriculture told the House last week that he would again be meeting Fisheries Ministers on 27th June. During the recess my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will be visiting a number of fishing areas and having discussions with these people. Those views will be expressed at the meeting to which I referred.