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Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

[Relevant documents: European Community Documents Nos. 6588/95 relating to NAFO conservation and Greenland Halibut, 6191/95 and 7618/95 relating to European Union and Canadian fisheries and the NAFO Convention, 6/92/95 relating to drift net fisheries and salnwnids, 6196/95 relating to drift net fisheries and tuna and 7599/95 on NAFO fisheries, the Observer scheme for Community fishing vessels operating in the NAFO area, the scheme of joint international inspection adopted by NAFO and the provisions for the application of certain control measures adopted by NAFO.]

I must inform the House that Madam Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and that she has also placed a 10-minute limit on speeches by Back Benchers throughout the debate.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Could not Madam Speaker have selected amendment (b) in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr. Gill) bearing it in mind that we are asked to make a decision on the basis of 120 pages of paper which I am sure some of us have not read—we received them only on Friday? As the decision will in any event be taken in Brussels on Thursday on a majority vote, would not it help the House more if we were to debate amendment (b) and have a proper debate—

Order. I have already explained to the House that Madam Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

8.17 pm

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
(Mr. Tony Baldry)

I beg to move,

That this House takes note of European Community Documents No. 7596/95, on establishing a control system applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy, No. 7465/95, relating to Community financial contribution towards certain expenditure incurred by the Member States in implementing the monitoring and control system applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy, and No. 8817/95, concerning a proposal for a Council Regulation establishing the list of species to be recorded in the fisheries logbook and landing declarations; welcomes the agreement reached at the Fisheries Council on 15th June on fishing effort levels; and supports the Government's efforts to secure effective measures to monitor and enforce fishing activity in Western Waters, including the Irish Box, while not placing unnecessary burdens on the fishing industry.
I shall try not to take up too much of the House's time as this debate is short and I am sure that a number of hon. Members want to speak. To help, I have sought in advance of today's debate to keep informed those hon. Members on both sides of the House who have a particular interest in this subject, but it will be helpful briefly to put tonight's debate into context.

The United Kingdom joined the European Community on 1 January 1973, nearly a quarter of a century ago. It must have been abundantly clear at that time that, by joining the Common Market, Britain would be taking part in a European fisheries policy. Articles 38 to 46 of the EC treaty set out the provisions that deal with agriculture. Fishery products are specifically mentioned in article 38 and in annex 2 to the treaty. The common fisheries policy is very much part of the EC treaty.

To put the matter beyond all doubt, the treaty on European Union in 1993 amended the objectives of the Community in article 3 to refer specifically to
"A common policy in the sphere of agriculture and fisheries."
Nor was the UK's involvement in a European fisheries policy seen to warrant great concern in the years after we joined. When the Labour Government renegotiated the terms for Britain's entry into the Common Market prior to the referendum in 1975, there was no mention of fisheries policy; nor, once the European Commission's common fisheries policy was agreed in 1983 and the Community enlarged, was there much interest from the Opposition. Indeed, at the general election, the Labour party did not mention fisheries policy in its manifesto. It was a lengthy document, but there was no mention of fisheries policy.

I fully appreciate that the nationalist parties have their particular angle, consistent with their broad political philosophies, but other than that it would be extremely disingenuous of anyone to suggest that the solution to the challenges facing the United Kingdom fishing fleet is for Britain to seek unilaterally to leave the CFP.

The House should acknowledge that, when Spain joined the European Community some 10 years ago, its accession had been agreed with the existing member states, including the UK. I have re-read all the debates on Spain's accession, both in this House and in the other place. The Committee stage of the Bill was taken on the Floor of the House. There were reasonably lengthy debates, but in none of them, and in not one speech either here or in the other place, was any query raised about Spain's accession to the European Community and the possible effect of that on the CFP in general and the UK fishing industry in particular.

The Minister makes a somewhat disingenuous point. The treaty of accession for Spain and Portugal did not envisage full Spanish and Portuguese access to Community waters until 2003. That is not on offer now. The House has never been told when and why it was agreed that access should take place from 1 January next year. What was the deal and why did the UK subscribe to it?

It is not me who is being disingenuous. Throughout the debates to which I referred, it was clear that the treaty of accession contained very specific references to fishing, to Spain and to the fact that Spain would not have access to the North sea. The fact that no hon. Member raised the matter of Spanish accession and its impact on the CFP should be taken into account. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows the answer to his point about 2003—[Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman is genuinely seeking the truth, let me help him.

It was quite clear that when Norway and other applicant states sought to join the European Union, they negotiated on the basis that the CFP would apply to them once they had joined. Therefore, it was difficult for existing member states to insist that the transitional arrangements for Spain should continue for a long time after the new applicants had joined the EU. That is the perfectly straightforward reason why the date was changed.

Why was it difficult to resist countries that had freely signed the treaty of accession? Why did the Government agree to a six-year acceleration in the access arrangements? The Minister has given us rather more of an explanation than we have ever had previously, and I am grateful for that, but will he deny outright that the basis of the deal between Iberian countries and the British Government was Spanish support for Major on qualified majority voting and British support for the Spanish on accelerated access? Was that the deal?

The hon. Gentleman is indulging in an enormously complex conspiracy theory when in fact the matter is quite straightforward. As I have already explained to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace), it was not unreasonable of the Spanish Government to say that, as other countries applying to join the EU were to be included in the CFP immediately, the transitional arrangements for Spain should be brought into line.

It should be clear that we are talking about an agreement that meant that the Spanish would have no access to the North sea, the Irish sea or the Bristol channel. They have access for up to 40 trawlers at any one time to the Irish box, the vast majority of which is within the territorial waters of the Republic of Ireland.

It must have been clear to everyone when Spain joined the European Community that, just as previously member states had had to adjust to take on board the entry of the UK, Denmark and Ireland in 1973, so we and the other members of the EU would have to integrate Spain and Portugal within the CFP. It is worth noting that not one Member of Parliament voted against Spain's accession to the European Community at any stage of the Bill's progress through Parliament.

Does my hon. Friend accept that if hon. Members on both sides of the House had known what the deal would be—if they had been fully informed at the time of Spain's accession—a large number of them would have protested? The Spanish have marauded their way through the south coast and decimated the British fleet. That is why hon. Members, even if they did not protest before, are entitled to protest now.

My hon. Friend reflects rather poorly on a number of right hon. and hon. Members who were in the House at the time in question, many of them on the Conservative Benches. They were well and fully informed of what was involved, but saw it as sensible and proportionate to Spain's accession to the European Community. It is rather disappointing that hon. Members should cast aspersions and suggest that we do not understand what we are doing. I am sure that every right hon. and hon. Member at the time fully understood what he was doing when the House agreed to the treaty and allowed Spain's accession to the European Community without one vote against.

My hon. Friend referred to the Spanish marauding through our waters. I appreciate the concerns of the UK fishing industry, but I think that it fully recognises that the deal that we have agreed means that the Spanish fleet will have no access to the Irish sea, the North sea or the Bristol channel. There will be a limit of 40 Spanish trawlers at any one time in the Irish box, the vast majority of which involves waters within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland, not the UK.

I shall give way in a moment, but I want to make some progress.

What we are dealing with this evening follows on logically from a number of decisions taken by the House and by the country as a whole in the 1975 referendum, which led to the UK's and, eventually, Spain's accession to the European Community and the involvement of all member states in a common fisheries policy.

I want briefly to outline some of the history of the transitional arrangements for Spain in relation to the CFP. Under the Spanish accession treaty, the number of Spanish vessels that could fish in western waters north of 48 deg north was limited to 300, of which only 150 could fish at any one time. Those vessels were excluded from the Irish box and the North sea and were required to submit detailed information on their fishing activities.

The exclusion from the Irish box was due to cease at the end of this year and failure to agree new provisions would have resulted in unrestricted access. That was not acceptable to the Government or to the UK fishing industry. A new agreement that safeguarded UK fishing interests was essential and we achieved that last December after tough and difficult negotiations. As a result, there will be no overall increase in fishing effort in western waters. Effort ceilings are to be established for each member state permitted to fish in the waters and, most important, Spanish access to the Irish box will be limited to a maximum of 40 vessels at any one time.

I emphasise the fact that the Spanish will not be allowed to fish within the North sea, the Irish sea or the Bristol channel. They will be allowed to fish only in the areas of the Irish box beyond the 12-mile limit. The Irish box covers a sea area of nearly 250,000 sq km of which around 73,000 sq km, or 33 per cent., falls within British fishery limits, so the vast majority of the Irish box is within the territorial waters of the Republic of Ireland.

In my travels around the coast, talking to members of the fishing industry, it became clear that there is a general recognition that the vast majority of Spanish fishing activity in the Irish box will take place in the waters of the Republic of Ireland.

My hon. Friend mentioned the North sea. He will appreciate that many hon. Members who represent constituencies on my side of the coast are extremely worried. Does he envisage a time when the Spanish may be allowed to fish in the North sea?

Not while I am the Minister responsible for fisheries policy. I have only one brief as the United Kingdom Minister responsible for fisheries policy and that is to represent the best interests of the United Kingdom fishing industry. It is perfectly straightforward.

Everyone, not least ourselves and the Republic of Ireland, wants to be confident of having a system that will enable there to be effective control so that there are no more than 40 Spanish trawlers in the Irish box at any one time. There is also a broad recognition—and agreement among all those involved in the fishing industry—that we have to have effective conservation policies to protect tomorrow's catch and ensure that we have a sustainable industry that can go with some confidence into the next century. That means responsibly controlling effort for today to ensure adequate catches tomorrow. Part of the western waters agreement is that there should be measures to monitor and control fishing effort.

As the House knows, the Commission was sent away to come up with proposals to achieve those objectives. The proposals that it came up with were overly bureaucratic and would have been unnecessarily burdensome and costly for our fishing industry. They were simply unacceptable to us and to our fishing industry. They would have required the masters of vessels of more than 18 m in overall length or 15 m between the perpendiculars to have notified flag and coastal states, by radio or telex, of each movement into or from a fishing area or port within western waters, including the Irish box. That would have meant that a major part of the United Kingdom fishing fleet would have spent much of its time hailing in and hailing out.

I estimate that, under the Commission's proposals, our vessels would have had to make some 170,000 calls to the United Kingdom authorities and perhaps a further 50,000 to other member states. The costs of communication alone would have been more than £1.2 million, averaging £1,400 for the 900 or so vessels affected. That is clearly daft, unacceptable and unnecessary.

I see from reports in some national newspapers that there has been some briefing from Brussels which is a mixture of scaremongering and speculation. The compromise proposals which the presidency will be putting forward to the Fisheries Council on Thursday have wide support among Ministers, as I shall make clear.

As I have already made clear to the fishing industry in this country, I have only one brief, which is to promote the best interests of the United Kingdom fishing industry. I have no brief for the European Commission, and I have no brief in particular for the European Union. I do, however, have a brief for the United Kingdom fishing industry and a clear responsibility to try to ensure that it has to deal with the minimum level of regulation necessary.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, if he is to stick to that brief, to put the interests of the United Kingdom fishing industry first and to ensure that it genuinely has a future, the best course is undoubtedly for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the common fisheries policy, which has been ecologically and economically disastrous for our traditional fishing communities?

I believe that my job, which is to be the best possible advocate for the fishing industry, entails listening carefully to what the industry says and then, like any good advocate, explaining honestly and straightforwardly what I believe to be within the politics of the possible.

I do not believe that it will ever be within the politics of the possible—nor should it be—for the Government unilaterally to seek to leave the common fisheries policy. It is not possible legally or pragmatically. It would jeopardise something like £500 million worth of United Kingdom fish sales each year and, furthermore, what would it achieve? I or my successor would, I suspect, have to spend something like the equivalent of a Parliament negotiating bilateral arrangements with each and every European Union member state.

Hon. Members who suggest that the solution to the challenges facing the United Kingdom fishing industry is simply for us unilaterally to try to leave the European fisheries policy are misleading the industry and being disingenuous.

Because this is a short debate and because a large number of right hon. and hon. Members would like to take part in it.

Since taking on this job in July, I have spent a considerable amount of time in discussion with the presidency of the European Union and ministerial colleagues in other member states to try to ensure that we come forward with sensible proposals that enable us to control and monitor Spanish activity in the Irish box and to record effort generally in the western waters without imposing further costs or burdens on the United Kingdom fishing fleet. The proposals on which I have been working and which the presidency will be putting to the Fisheries Council on Thursday—where, I am glad to say, I shall have the support of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland—are sensible and proportionate to what needs to be achieved.

First, individual member states will be able to determine the arrangements for monitoring the movement of their own vessels operating within waters of their jurisdiction. Secondly, vessels at sea for fewer than 72 hours but operating in waters of other member states will be able to submit a single report to the flag state and relevant coastal state, advising their fishing intentions prior to departure from port. Thirdly, vessels at sea for more than 72 hours and fishing in the waters of other member states—for example, Spanish trawlers in the Irish box—will have to provide real-time information about their movements, although there will be greater flexibility as to how this information might be communicated.

Those proposals will enable us and the Irish Government to monitor Spanish trawlers entering and leaving the Irish box, but involve vessels in the United Kingdom fleet calling in only if they are entering other nations' fishing waters and are at sea for more than 72 hours. That should significantly reduce the number of calls and the cost to our fishing industry. Vessels engaged in pelagic fishing will be wholly exempt. For United Kingdom vessels operating within our fishing limits, we envisage making full use of the present logbook system to record and report on fishing effort, supplemented by our extensive surveillance activity at sea, in the air and on land.

I appreciate that the Northern Ireland fleet has particular concerns about how the proposed regime will impact on its traditional Irish sea fishery, which involves frequent passage between our waters and those of the Republic of Ireland. At present, there is a long-standing agreement that vessels from the Northern Ireland fleet and vessels from the Republic of Ireland go freely in and out of each other's waters.

Northern Ireland fishermen will be especially interested in how the new control arrangements will apply when they are fishing in the Republic of Ireland's jurisdiction. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East (Mr. Ross) and the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) who, with Dick James of the Northern Ireland Fishermen's Federation, met me last week to set out their concerns constructively and in detail. I hope that they and other right hon. and hon. Members will take some reassurance from the fact that extensive discussions have been and are taking place between the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland and the Department of the Marine in the Republic of Ireland. I am confident that sensible and pragmatic reporting arrangements, with which I hope the Northern Ireland fleet will be happy, can be made.

The proposals that I have just set out, and which I believe to be reasonable and proportionate, now have the support of Fisheries Ministers throughout the European Union. I hope that they will thus be endorsed by the Council of Ministers on Thursday so that everyone will know where they stand as of 1 January next year.

Does the Minister reject entirely the advice that some of us received from Brussels to the effect that, if the arrangement that he has made is accepted, individual Spanish fishermen could take action to overturn it on the basis of unfair discrimination because Spanish vessels were not being treated in the same way as those from the United Kingdom? Does he agree that he was incorrect to say that there were no votes on Spanish accession? A reading of the proceedings of 10 December 1985 reveals that there were.

I am not entirely clear about the last point that my hon. Friend is trying to make. Perhaps we could clarify it. I am sorry that he has to pray in aid—an unusual experience for him I am sure—press articles which have as their basis briefings from officials in Brussels concerned at the progress that democratically elected Ministers have made in bringing forward sensible proposals.

The measures are not discriminatory. They are the same for all member states and they reflect reality. All vessels that fish in the waters of other member states will have to notify their fishing intention prior to departure, and if they are at sea for more than 72 hours they will need to report each entry and exit immediately prior to making that entry or exit.

I am confident that the arrangements that I and other Fisheries Ministers have made throughout the European Union are perfectly capable of withstanding any legal challenge. It is also absolute rubbish for anyone to suggest that foreign vessels fishing in British waters will be given a blank cheque. I do not think that anyone who is involved with Spanish vessels in this country doubts the rigidity of our enforcement arrangements.

No, I need to make some progress. It is only fair to others.

I fully appreciate that, earlier in the year, our fishing industry was quite rightly totally opposed to the Commission's proposals, which the industry saw as being bureaucratic, burdensome and costly. I am sure that the industry now recognizes—I hope that the House will also recognise it, irrespective of the various views that might exist on the European Union—that I and other Fisheries Ministers throughout Europe have been able to move matters a considerable distance during the summer.

Given the policy objectives that we have to meet, I believe that the proposals place the minimum of extra regulation on the UK fishing industry, consistent with the need, which I am sure is recognised by hon. Members of all parties, to ensure that Spain's involvement in the Irish box is properly monitored and supervised. I would certainly welcome the House's support for the proposals tonight. That would send a strong signal to everyone else in the European Union that, on these matters, we stand together, and that we stand together in support of the UK fishing industry.

I shall deal briefly with Community funding for enforcement. It is a relatively straightforward proposal. It continues the provision of Community financial assistance to member states for fisheries enforcement for a further five years when the existing arrangements finish at the end of this year. It also incorporates special assistance for Ireland, agreed at December's Fisheries Council, which recognises the exceptional demands and costs involved in undertaking enforcement in the waters of the Republic of Ireland, which include the majority of the Irish box.

Those measures are justified because member states are required to monitor and enforce the Community rules relating to a common resource. It is also an important factor in achieving effective fisheries controls throughout the Community.

I shall mention the proposal to extend the number of species to be recorded in logbooks and to develop regional arrangements through the Commission's management committee procedures simply so that it will not become a distraction this evening. The proposal will not be considered at Thursday's Fisheries Council. Just as I have been determined that we should not have costly and bureaucratic controls for western waters, I hope that the House and the industry will be confident that I am equally determined to ensure that we keep logbooks as straightforward and as simple as possible.

The Commission's proposals on logbooks start off as being over-burdensome. How can it expect fishermen to record so many species—even if they were capable of identifying each and every one and of carrying a logbook large enough to record them all? I have made my position perfectly clear to Brussels. I am not prepared to consider any extension of the present number of species unless I receive a clear justification for the addition of each and every species and I have a clear view of the species to appear in regional lists.

I also wish to see a continuing derogation from the need to complete logbooks for vessels at sea for fewer than 12 hours and less than 17 m in length. I intend to resist further burdens being placed on what is already a very heavily regulated industry. Our energies should be directed to lessening the regulatory burden on our fishermen, not increasing it. Of course I fully support any sensible proposals to reform the common fisheries policy to that end.

A number of other documents have been tagged to this debate. They are mainly concerned with the arrangements for waters regulated under the auspices of the North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation and with the future arrangements for the regulation of drift nets. The use of such nets in the tuna fishery has been an issue of some controversy over the past two years. On 29 September, I announced that this year's tuna fishery had finished. I am very pleased to report that the arrangements that we have put in place, combined with the co-operation of our industry and efforts of the Royal Navy and the sea fisheries inspectorate, have ensured that the fishery was peaceful and free from serious incidents such as occurred last year.

Since the three-year decommissioning programme was announced in 1992, we have spent £16.6 million on two schemes—one in 1993 and a second in 1994. The schemes, using a tendering arrangement to give us the best possible value for money, enabled us to reduce the fleet by just over 10,000 tonnes, or some 4.6 per cent. of fleet capacity.

In January last year, the then Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave), announced that a further £25 million would be made available for decommissioning, taking the total over five years to £53 million. That shows the Government's commitment to securing the future of the fishing industry.

In July, I launched the third round of decommissioning—£12 million was made available. I am pleased tonight be able to announce that 164 vessels have been successful in the scheme. They represent 5,326 gross registered tonnes; equivalent to some 2.5 per cent. of the fleet's capacity. Together those excellent schemes will have removed more than 7 per cent. of fleet capacity. In the light of that, I shall analyse the detailed results of the schemes and consult the industry to see whether we need to adjust the rules for the 1996 scheme to continue to target spending where it is most needed.

I hope that I have demonstrated that the Government are determined to put forward the best interests of the UK fishing industry. We have listened very carefully to what the industry has had to say. I believe that the proposals on which I and other Ministers have been working hard during the summer will enable us to meet our policy objectives of monitoring effort in western waters and controlling foreign vessels in western waters without placing undue burdens or costs on our industry. I hope, therefore, that the House will give the proposals its full support this evening.

8.46 pm

I beg to move, to leave out from 'declarations' to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

`recognises the widespread concern about the increased pressure on fish stocks in Western Waters including the Irish Box resulting from the failure of the Government to secure a satisfactory agreement on the future access of Spanish and Portuguese vessels; and calls upon the Government to secure arrangements which match fishing effort to available fish stocks and include a system of control and effective enforcement that reflects the operational needs of the United Kingdom fishing industry and the need to protect the interests of local fishing communities.'
As always, Opposition Members welcome an opportunity to discuss fishing issues, but I must start by saying that it is a disappointment that the debate has been cut to one and a half hours. Previous debates have been three hours. This debate is all the more important—I take the point made by the hon. Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor)—because it also refers to a whole series of documents relating to the North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, tuna fishing and drift net fishing in the north Atlantic; all of which are important regional interests which we should have had more time to discuss. Yet there is not going to be any opportunity for such discussion in tonight's debate.

To put the record straight, the Minister's comments from his brief about Labour's manifesto promises or mention of fishing are an old chestnut. In 1992, the Labour party launched a document as part of the election campaign in a dedicated policy launch in Tyneside on the fishing industry marine harvest. The Conservative party did no such thing. Although the Minister's predecessor, the hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack), complained about the quality of that document, it must be said that in 1992 we did not have the resources of the Conservative party or, should I say, given its bank account, the overdraft of the Conservative party. That document is very well known to the fishing industry and was warmly welcomed by it, even if it is not known to the Minister.

Although the Government are known for their cheek, they have the brass neck to try to suggest that Opposition Members are responsible in some way for bringing forward the accession of the Iberian fleets by six years. That subject was never on the agenda when we were discussing matters. So it was somewhat of a surprise that the accession suddenly came forward in the negotiations. Indeed, our amendment points out that it was a failure of the Government in those negotiations to concede to the Spanish and Portuguese in such a way. We believe that such things as the principle of relative stability could have been used far more effectively than they were in those negotiations. I do not doubt that there was a deal in terms of conceding to the Iberian request and I do not doubt that sooner or later, the details of that deal will come out, probably when we are in government.

We are discussing these documents tonight because promises were given that the Spanish accession would not lead to greater effort; the controls that we are talking about are part of that discussion. Although there is a sensible case for effort control—no one would disagree with that—any scheme should be workable and should not put an undue burden on our fishing fleet. As the scheme stands in its draft form—I accept that the Minister has recognised this—it is totally unacceptable in terms of the burden that it would place on the UK fishing fleet.

We also expect the Minister fully to comply with the assurances that were given by his predecessor, the hon. Member for Fylde, in a letter to every fisherman in the country, stating that any such effort control would not add further burdens for the fishing fleet. I am a bit concerned that Fisheries Ministers seem to come and go. I very much hope that the assurances given by one Minister are not suddenly ignored by the next Minister. I refer to the Minister's own welcome assurance of protection.

I also note that although the Government have said that they welcome the presidency compromise, which goes a long way towards improving the draft proposals, even that compromise puts a heavy burden on parts of our fishing fleet, especially south-western vessels which frequently fish in French waters, and our Northern Ireland fleet which frequently fishes in Irish waters. We very much want their needs to be recognised in any deal because even the compromise does not go far enough. I very much hope that the Minister will give some thought to the desirability of reciprocal agreements with the countries I have mentioned if the presidency compromise forms the basis of a future settlement.

I shall now expand on what we envisage in our amendment when we talk about "control and effective enforcement". The Minister will be aware of the crisis of confidence felt by UK fishermen about the operation of the current common fisheries policy. The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations stated in a brief that it circulated to hon. Members that it believed that there was no future for the fishing industry within the present structure and that it must be abandoned. Certainly, there must be radical change and the forthcoming Council meeting is an opportunity for the Minister to begin that change.

In essence, we believe that the member states should have far more control of enforcement and conservation management within their own waters. We would like to expand that into wider areas of fisheries management and control, but for the purpose of this debate, we want to concentrate on control and enforcement. We accept that the intention is to enforce effort and it is also recognised that the Minister has stated that in the UK, that will be done through logbook entries; we accept that that is a reasonable approach in terms of our own fleet.

However, we also share the concern of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation about what will happen in terms of the enforcement of Spanish vessels in UK waters, especially from 1 January. Will the Minister confirm that current reporting-in regulations for Spanish ships will be relaxed as they are absorbed into part of whatever scheme comes out of the Council of Ministers? Will he also confirm that the current restriction that limits Spanish ships in western waters to 150 will be relaxed from 1 January as the new measures come in and the restriction on numbers is replaced by kilowatt days?

Will the Minister also confirm that enforcement will be by the flag state? We believe that when there is fishing in UK waters within the CFP and within the principle of the CFP, the enforcement should be by the member states. Yet under the proposals, it seems that in terms of enforcing kilowatt days and enforcing regulations generally, the enforcement authority will be the Spanish authorities. With the best will in the world, the record of the Spanish authorities in terms of enforcement has not been good—I put that somewhat mildly.

The hon. Gentleman has asked a number of rhetorical questions which will take me a little time to answer. Actually, he is confused on a number of issues. I am sorry that if he had so many questions to which he genuinely wanted an answer, he did not seek to see me beforehand because I could have put him right on some things.

I hope that we shall not waste time in fisheries debates arguing about matters that are not correct. Of course the Spanish will have responsibility for ensuring that there are no more than 40 Spanish vessels within the Irish box at any one time. It is, however, of course a matter for us to supervise Spanish vessels generally in our waters. Last year, we inspected more than 5,000 vessels at sea; almost half were foreign. We made more than 45,000 sightings. The hon. Gentleman and the House can rest assured that we shall continue to monitor and supervise all vessels within UK waters. There is no question of our abandoning our responsibility for that. If the hon. Gentleman has any concerns about that, I shall be happy to put him straight.

If the Minister wishes to put me straight, will he tell us whether the management and enforcement of the kilowatt-day regime will be carried out by the flag state or by the member state in which the vessels are fishing? Am I misinformed on that issue?

We shall monitor effort in our waters through the logbook system. We shall, of course, as the flag state, continue to supervise Spanish vessels fishing in our waters, just as we do at present. Of course within the Irish box, the Spanish will have the responsibility of seeing that no more than 40 vessels are within the box at any one time. The Republic of Ireland will also have responsibility. The recognition of the extensive waters within the Irish box is the reason why we in the European Union have agreed to give the Republic of Ireland extra funds for enforcement purposes. The Irish will be able to ensure that the Spanish are complying fully with the arrangement to which we have come. There is no mystery about that. If the hon. Gentleman has any concerns—

Order. I hesitate to intervene and I fully appreciate that the Minister is trying to be helpful. However, these are long interventions. We have only 50 minutes now for this debate and many hon. Members want to speak.

I understand that the Minister's colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson), will reply to the debate and I am sure that he will have an opportunity to deal with some of these points. The Minister has, however, confirmed what I have said. Enforcement of the kilowatt days for Spanish vessels fishing in western waters will be the responsibility of Spain. I am talking not just about the Irish box, but about western waters, as a result of the accession agreement. The Minister is misleading the House if he is suggesting that the United Kingdom will have absolute control over Spanish vessels in UK waters. My information is that it will not.

Of course, we have powers to board and to check the logbooks and reporting of Spanish vessels, but those powers do not go as far as they do over UK vessels fishing in UK waters. I believe that within the principle of the CFP, we should have the powers to ensure the absolute enforcement of kilowatt days and that regime. I suspect very much that if we do not, Spanish vessels will not work to the same strict enforcement regime as our own vessels will. Time will tell.

Rightly or wrongly, our fishermen feel that the rules are often applied more rigidly in our country than they are in others. When the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland answers, can he tell us whether he has seen lists of vessels yet? Are the lists of vessels that will be fishing ready and what are the details?

Does the Minister believe that other member states will be ready to implement proposals of this kind on 1 January? It will be totally unacceptable if we implement the proposals fully while other member states do so in a somewhat relaxed way, which—rightly or wrongly—is a perception within the UK fishing fleet.

I do not wish to take any more time, as I know that more hon. Members want to speak in the debate, and I hope that the Minister will bear in mind my comments about the time to be allocated for these debates in the future. But I ask the Minister to bear it in mind when he goes to the Council of Ministers that the credibility of the CFP rests on a management scheme that is credible, effective and simple. He must also bear it in mind that it is not incompatible with the principle of the CFP for there to be more UK control over UK waters. I hope that the Minister will argue strongly for more autonomy over the management of our waters.

8.59 pm

I hope that the House will appreciate that we are making ourselves look rather ridiculous for a democracy—whether we are fishermen or not. Our constituents should realise that we had the opportunity to grab the bundle of papers that we are now discussing in the Vote Office on Friday. Those who were here on Friday will appreciate that hardly any hon. Members were in the House at that time, and Members instead received the papers this morning. As Members have lots to do—I am sure that the Members here now are very busy indeed—how on earth could they read all of the documentation?

Our constituents should also know that even if some hon. Members had managed to read all of the papers—I know that our friends in the Scottish National party work day and night—it would have been irrelevant because, at the end of the day, what is to happen will be decided by majority vote at Thursday's Council of Ministers meeting.

Hon. Members should appreciate that there is nothing more pathetic than Opposition parties—I am sure sincerely—putting questions to Ministers on issues over which the Government have no power. We must bear it in mind that whatever the Government do can be overturned by the European Court, and by majority vote thereafter.

The Minister objects to my intervening in the debate to remind him of tiny matters which are not terribly relevant, such as the vote on 10 December when a former Minister acted as one of the Tellers, and I accept that he is working very hard indeed. The Minister is faced with a nightmare, as the British fishing industry is faced with a situation in which the average boat must spend up to £5,000 on the most ridiculous bureaucracy. The boats must send in messages non-stop, and they could end up sending hundreds of thousands of messages because of the new arrangement.

We all appreciate that the only way in which we can properly police Spanish vessels coming into the Irish box is to have a Euro-policeman on every boat, or perhaps three Euro-policemen and a computer. That is why the Commission put forward its proposals. The British industry, of course, objected to the proposals because of the cost of the bureaucracy. Therefore, as the Minister kindly wrote to some of us, an arrangement has been made whereby that bureaucracy will be reduced, and it is thought that the arrangement will go through on Thursday. My point is that if the bureaucracy is reduced, the policing of the system will become less effective.

In addition, if the Government bring forward proposals—as they intend to—which basically discriminate against Spanish vessels by having separate rules for those who work 72 hours or more a week and for those who work fewer than 72 hours a week, they could find that the proposals will be overturned by the European Court.

I feel guilty taking up time in this debate, although we all know that—as is the case so often in debates on European measures—we are wasting our time. We do not have the power to do anything in this matter, and hon. Members' votes to note or not to note the proposals will not have the slightest effect on what happens. Even if the Council of Ministers agrees on the great new arrangement—I can appreciate that it has been forced on the Minister following the objections by our fishermen—it can be overturned by a European Court decision.

During the past 30 years, I have become a thorough Euro-bore. Ministers obviously regard me as such, but I ask them to realise what is happening to democracy. I shall mention only one other case. I had the pleasure of attending a political party conference in a place called Blackpool, where I heard someone say that we will fight on the issue of border controls and that we will surrender not an inch. A terribly important Minister—a Minister who is more important than any other—said that the issue was not negotiable. Yet we all know than an action has been started in the European Court on the matter. I have received advice from learned, clever and highly paid people—who must be intelligent—that this country does not have a hope in the matter because the declaration on which we are basing our defence does not hold any water.

On fishing, as with everything else, we should appreciate that democracy is dying. All of the assurances that the Minister gives with great sincerity to fishermen and all of the hard work that I know he does is basically one great joke. That is why I and some colleagues tabled an amendment—to make people think. There is no solution to the problems of British fishing within the present situation in the EU. In the same way, and despite all of the silly comments we have heard from successive Ministers of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, we should appreciate that there is no way at all in which the common agriculture policy can ever be reformed within the present structure. We simply have to wake up to the fact that on this mountain of papers we are basically wasting our time, misleading our constituents and misleading the fishermen of Britain, who are probably among the most respectable, hard-working and decent groups in our community.

I look forward to the time when—if, by any chance, the Labour party is elected to power—we will see exactly the opposite happening. If only the parties would come together, accept things as they are and accept that if we are to save British fishing and avoid the crazy expenditure of vast sums on bureaucracy, we should consult others about the possibility of extracting the British fishing industry from the common fisheries policy. There is no other solution.

It is sad for our industry that so many people in this House of Commons—good, hard-working people—are not prepared simply to tell people things as they are. If we did that, irrespective of opinion polls, we would all have a great deal more respect. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will accept that, no matter what is agreed on Thursday, it can be overturned. I also hope that he will accept that, irrespective of what the House says, the Council on Thursday can overturn what we think. I hope that he will also conclude that the views of the fishermen of Britain seem to be virtually of no consequence.

9.5 pm

It is worth saying at the outset some words about the background against which the debate takes place. The level of discontent and sheer anger among the fishing communities is well known by all hon. Members who represent fishing constituencies. It has never been higher. One sign of that is the growth in support for the aims of the Save British Fish campaign, which seeks to persuade the Government to withdraw from the common fisheries policy. It is fair to say that many of the people who subscribe to that campaign appreciate that its aim is probably not a realistic legal objective, but they are so fed up and angry about the way in which the policy has impacted on them and their communities that they feel driven to that extreme solution.

Over the years, fishermen have had to put up with conflicting advice from scientists about how much of various stocks is left in the seas. That advice leads them from one year to the next to change their fishing expectations and patterns. They are trapped in ever-increasing regulations and restrictions. They fear that the enforcement procedures that we are discussing tonight would represent a major step forward in those regulations and restrictions.

Fishermen have had to put up with the loss of the financial support that the industry has been able to rely on in the past for renewing and improving boats. They face ever-increasing incursion from foreign boats into waters that they regard as traditionally theirs. As a result of all those factors, fishermen are at the end of their tether. In considering and discussing the regulations before us tonight, and in thinking ahead towards the meeting with his fellow Ministers, it is important that the Minister appreciates the level of anger in fishing communities.

Fishermen are especially angry in my constituency of the Western Isles. The fishing industry there is a major aspect of the islands' economy. It is a major foundation for maintaining otherwise fragile rural communities. There is a special twist in the Western Isles in that more than 90 per cent. of the catch is shellfish. So the fleet in the Western Isles makes no real contribution to the problem of overcapacity that has afflicted the British fleet in recent years and led to many of the regulations and restrictions that we have had to put up with.

The Minister mentioned decommissioning. He may not realise that none of the Western Isles boats is eligible for decommissioning because the vast majority of them fish for shellfish—primarily for prawns. The Government have concluded, logically, that because the prawn sector is recognised not to be contributing to overcapacity, it should not be eligible for decommissioning.

However, if it is true that the prawn sector does not contribute to overcapacity, logically also it should be eligible for a resumption of financial support to help it renew and rebuild the fleet. Not only in the Western Isles but throughout the west coast of Scotland, the boats that are used for fishing are elderly boats that should have been renewed or replaced a long time ago. As a result of the freeze on financial assistance to be spent on fishing boats, that has not been happening. I ask the Minister, as he looks ahead into the next year—I specifically ask the Scottish Office Minister—to consider the possibility of again opening up those sources of financial assistance to help those boats.

Enforcement, which is the primary subject of the debate, continues to be murky and unclear. Fishermen remain confused as to the way in which Spanish access will work out from 1 January 1996. The Government continually repeat that there will be no increase in overall effort and insist that relative stability will be maintained. If those two things are true, it appears to follow—to Labour Members, at least—that that means that there will be no significant increase in Spanish effort.

Given the track record of Spanish boats, we find that hard to believe. Given the ability of Spanish boats to evade those rules and regulations that are laid down already, fishermen looking ahead to 1 January 1996 are fearful of what the impact of Spanish access will be. Therefore, in spite of the Minister's attempts, no one will believe his reassurances until the reality of the position unfolds in the new year.

It is now widely realised that we must think urgently about radical reform of the common fisheries policy. One of the elements of that reform will be an attempt to move to a system of regulation that pays greater heed to regional differences within countries. There are huge differences between the types of fleet, the fish and the problems in different parts of the United Kingdom, even in different parts of Scotland. A policy that pays greater heed to those differences and allows regions greater freedom to set guidelines or to regulate will be one of the elements of a reformed common fisheries policy.

We heard earlier about the problems caused by a state-based system of regulation. The Minister referred to the briefings that are apparently being given by Commission officials, complaining that what the Minister is trying to do will undermine the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination between states. As long as we think only in terms of state regulation and state criteria, we shall run into those problems constantly. We need to aim much more for a regionally based system of regulation.

9.14 pm

I want to raise matters relevant to Northern Ireland. The Minister tonight rightly utterly rejected the first proposals that were put and pointed out how ludicrous they were and how expensive and discriminatory they would have been. It must be emphasised that the fishermen who would have been discriminated against more than any others by the original proposals were the fishermen of Northern Ireland.

For example, under the first proposals, vessels out of Kilkeel fishing in the waters of the Irish Republic would be required to report on leaving Kilkeel, upon entering the territorial waters of the Irish Republic, upon exiting those waters and again upon returning to Kilkeel. In some instances, reports would have had to be made to the authorities in both the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic. That burden could not have been borne by the fishing industry in Northern Ireland.

The Minister tells us that on Thursday, Spain, which holds the EU presidency, will put forward a compromise proposal. That is a step in the right direction, but it will still have a negative impact upon all Northern Ireland vessels. The essence of the compromise is that it would remove some of the clearly excessive parts of the Commission's proposals, such as reporting of catches by radio, and would allow certain exemptions from the reporting requirements. Vessels fishing in their own member state waters would be exempt from the Commissions's reporting rules and vessels operating within another member state's waters for fewer than 72 hours would have to make only one report on leaving port. However, Northern Ireland vessels working in the south-west which have to pass through Irish waters to fish in French and Irish waters will still be hit with the full force of all the Commission's reporting requirements. Each call will cost at least £5.

The Minister responsible for fisheries in Northern Ireland wrote to every individual vessel owner in Northern Ireland at the beginning of this year. He assured them:
"no new measures to control effort will need to be imposed in the United Kingdom industry"
. The fishermen of Northern Ireland would contend that the requirement to report in and out is a new measure and that the Ministers's undertaking has not been kept.

The Commission's proposals for Northern Ireland fishermen—even the compromise proposals—are expensive, complicated, excessive and unworkable. The compromise put forward by the Spanish Government as president of the EU may be a move in the right direction but, if adopted, it will leave Northern Irish and south-western fleets exposed to the full rigour of the Commission's excessive reporting requirements. The fishing industry cannot bear that burden.

The United Kingdom and Europe already have in place numerous measures regarding the minimum size of fish and net mesh sizes. The existing rules should be enforced; by doing so, many problems could be solved. Northern Ireland fishermen who, because of their position with regard to the Irish Republic are the most affected by the proposals, must not be given an extra burden when their living conditions and the making of enough money for them to keep ticking over are already so difficult.

I appreciate that the Minister says that he is going to fight for the industry, but his fighting capacity in the matter is limited. It is all very well for him to denounce people who did not see into the future but when the accession of Spain was proposed, we were told that it would not happen until into the next millennium. Although Spain's accession has now been brought forward, we have not been given the real reason for that.

The Minister may fight as hard as he can, but ultimately the interests in Europe that have the power can vote down any suggestion that he makes. I wish him well and hope that he will remember the plight of Northern Ireland fishermen, who will still be discriminated against if the second proposal goes through.

9.19 pm

I shall try to keep my remarks brief because many of the salient points in this debate have already been aired, not least by the hon. Members for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) and for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley).

I thank the Minister for giving us an insight into the reasons why the full Spanish access to our waters has been advanced. Arrangements for the Irish box were due for renegotiation. However, the Minister has not answered the more fundamental question of why, given that Spain had voluntarily entered into a treaty agreement, it was necessary to make that concession to it. One might have thought that there was some kind of quid pro quo, but there is no evidence that Britain has achieved anything from a change in the arrangements. The change went ahead notwithstanding the warnings that the Government received from the fishing industry, which underlines what can happen when important decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers behind closed doors and when legislation is effectively made in secret. It certainly calls for greater openness in the Council of Ministers' deliberation.

The hon. Member for Antrim, North quoted a letter sent by the Northern Ireland Fisheries Minister to fishing vessel owners at the turn of the year. The same words were used in letters sent by the former Minister of State, the hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack), to fishermen in England and possibly even in Scotland. The fishing industry sought comfort from the fact that, if effort did not increase, new measures to control effort would not need to be imposed on the UK industry.

On 25 August this year, both the chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations and the president of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation wrote to the Minister to ask him to confirm that that was still the Government's policy and to give the same assurances as his predecessor had given last December. As of this morning, no reply had been received, so it would be useful if the Minister would say whether that is still the Government's policy. It would certainly not have been consistent with acceptance of the Commission's original proposals. It is to the Minister's credit that he has no doubt resisted those proposals and sought coalitions with our Community partners in an effort to have them taken off the table. He stated clearly what the proposals would mean in terms of increased bureaucracy—up to 170,000 reports to our authorities and 50,000 reports to member states' authorities. He has our support in resisting those.

As the hon. Member for Antrim, North said, even the presidency compromise would lead to an increase in bureaucracy for Northern Ireland boats and boats from south-west England, many of which would be in either Irish or French waters. I understood the Minister to say in his opening remarks that he is trying to negotiate with the Irish Government for some "voisinage" agreements—that is the swank name for neighbourhood agreements—to allow for further derogations to reduce the need to report in. Are similar efforts being made with the French authorities in respect of vessels, particularly from south-west England, which, even on journeys of fewer than 72 hours, would find themselves in French waters? What happens if, having set out on a journey that is intended to be fewer than 72 hours, there is a change of mind midway? Is it necessary at that point to report in again?

The hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe raised the important question of who will prosecute in those matters. It is not a matter to be discussed before the debate but a matter on which the House should legitimately hear an answer. For example, if a 41st vessel appears in the Irish box when only 40 Spanish vessels are allowed, what is the legal position? Who will take action? Will it be the Spanish authorities, the United Kingdom authorities, or indeed the Irish authorities? Would anyone be prosecuted or would a diplomatic note of protest be sent to the Spanish embassy? We would like to know about such details.

It is also relevant to point out that the present arrangements on the accession of Spain and Portugal come into effect on 1 January. We would welcome information from the Minister about what will happen then and about whether every country will be in a position to implement and enforce the new arrangements. My understanding is that part of the arrangement means that each country must register with the Commission, which, in due course, will publish the arrangements that it is making to monitor the take-up and use of kilowatt days. Can the Minister tell me how many countries have so far registered how they intend to monitor that take-up? Will he assure the House that all will have done so by 1 January? Failing that, what precisely will happen?

An important point relates to catch reporting. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland recently sent a helpful letter to hon. Members representing Scotland in which he said that the catch reporting proposals had been deferred and would not have to brought before the Council until the end of 1996.

According to the original regulations relating to Spanish access to our waters, it was a requirement on Spanish vessels to communicate on entry into and departure from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea zone in which they were authorised to fish. They were required to communicate weekly, beginning on the date of the commencement of fishery operations, a series of facts, including the quantity of each species of fish in the holds and the quantity in kilograms of each species caught since the previous transmission.

I know that a report of the Commission in 1991 suggested that those arrangements were not working effectively, but at least they were something. Do those arrangements fall on 1 January 1996? Can the Minister clarify whether that means that between 1996 and the coming into operation of the new catch reporting regime, whenever that will be, there will be no requirement on Spanish vessels to report their catch?

I welcome what the Minister said about the recording of the list of species in fisheries logbooks. Will he assure me that there will be full consultation with the industry before that arrangement is subject to further development? When will there be an announcement on the decommissioning awards for the current year?

We know that a review group is sitting at the moment. I agree with the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) that that group should have a more regional dimension in terms of the representation of regional waters and nations. That is something worth pursuing. Until such time as that review group reports and the common fisheries policy is reformed, fishermen must continue to earn their living. That is why it is so important to get the proposals right. I assure the Minister that if he adheres to the undertakings made by the then Minister in December about the introduction of no new control measures, he will enjoy the support of the Liberal party.

9.27 pm

It is part of the tradition of the House that individual Members speak up for threatened minorities—of which, of course, our fishing industry is one. That is why I wish to speak briefly in this debate. Although I do not represent a fishing community, it is important for the fishermen of Britain to know that there is widespread support in the Conservative ranks for their Save British Fish campaign.

Every time I hear a debate about the fishing industry I am struck by its Chamberlainesque tone. It is all about appeasement, peace in our time and a good negotiated settlement, but we know that that inevitably means that our fishermen will lose more of their traditional rights. It ill behoves the Opposition to express their hypocritical concern; they, too, are well aware that they have no will even to constrain the activities of the European Community, still less—

No, I must be brief.

It was depressing to hear from the Minister that more and more money is to be spent on the decommissioning of boats. In the past six months, when I was less than normally constrained by party controls, I had the privilege of visiting the fishing ports of Britain and talking to fishermen. The process of decommissioning begs the question: what are those men supposed to do once their boats have been destroyed? They have no other occupation, their communities are dependent on fishing and no one knows how their traditions and the livelihoods of their families will be maintained without the ability of fishermen to fish.

We are talking about British vessels having to report their whereabouts every five minutes when our fishing communities have fished for centuries without the need for such frequent reporting. It ill behoves us as a Government and a country to say that fishermen are to be paid as bureaucrats. They will be required to phone, to telex and generally to make known their whereabouts.

My hon. Friend the Minister poured scorn on the requirement that our fishermen now have to report 20 species within their catch. Under the new proposals, they will have to report on 200. My hon. Friend neglected to say that if the wrong species have been caught, notwithstanding that the fish are dead on the decks, our fishermen are obliged to throw them back into the sea. Parts of the sea are becoming polluted because of the mass of fish that our fishermen are dumping in obedience to such rules.

I do not wish unduly to detain the House because I am aware that others wish to speak, but I should like to prevail on my hon. Friend the Minister to accept what my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) has urged, to take the bull by the horns and to insist that our waters are regained for the use of our fishermen. I would welcome the support of other Members, especially those who represent fishing communities. It is possible to do anything if we have the will to do it. If we insist, we can ensure that our waters are policed and that marauding Spanish fleets are kept out. We are talking of fleets that are becoming constantly larger on the strength of EC subsidies while having no natural fishing waters to support the volume of their vessels and the amount of business that they require to sustain themselves.

9.31 pm

It is a pleasure to be called to participate in the debate. I shall be brief because I know that many other Members wish to say a few words on behalf of their fishermen.

It is clear that the Government are worried about Spanish fishermen. The Irish are also concerned. I hope that on this occasion we shall find an ally in Dublin.

The Government appear to be handling different problems in various parts of the United Kingdom by lumping them all together. In that context, the remarks of the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) were especially appropriate. Within the general problem we have several discrete problems which need to be handled and dealt with separately. The measures before us would not have come into operation had it not been for the necessity to control the operations of Spanish boats in the Irish box. That being so, we should have it in mind that Spanish boats should not be given any access to the Irish sea. Against that background, what is the necessity for all the controls being proposed?

The Minister is well aware of Northern Ireland concerns, which I hope that he has taken on board. I hope, too, that the efforts being made between Belfast and Dublin will bear fruit. I know that some progress has been made, but much more needs to be done. I suggest that the Minister should consider carefully the existing agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic. That would be a starting point.

Some problems have been resolved, but we must go a great deal further. The Minister should not rest on his laurels. Instead, he should reach a sensible agreement and not be deterred by the opposition that will be mounted from other quarters.

9.33 pm

I shall be brief because I wish to allow the Minister some time to answer the substantial questions that have been raised. First, I ask a simple question: who is leading the United Kingdom delegation this Thursday?

I am satisfied with that answer. It was said in another place today that the Secretary of State for Scotland was to lead it. I thought that he would be the ranking Minister. It is of some interest to Scottish Members that the hon. Gentleman will be leading the delegation.

There is an old, very bad joke whereby someone asking for directions gets the answer, "If I were you, I wouldn't have started from here." Opposition Members are in precisely that position because I do not think that anyone, whatever the Minister says, will have acquiesced in the acceleration of Spanish accession by six years with no apparent valid reason being given for it whatever. The reason why Spain wins fisheries negotiations is very simple: for Spain, fishing is an absolute top priority. It has two major concerns in European Council meetings—the first is fishing and the second is European regional policy—and it has been willing to use any instrument, particularly those in terms of enlargement of the Community requiring unanimity, in order to extract concessions in those key areas. The lesson must surely be that if one makes fishing one's top priority, things are more likely to go one's way than if it is way down the scale of priorities, as it most certainly is for the British Government.

There are two specific questions that the junior Minister from Scotland should address when summing up the debate. First, as of 1 January next year, when these control regulations come into force, will Spanish boats in western waters be required to report the catch on board, as they are now? That is not clear from the documents that we have. It is a vital question, because merely hailing in and hailing out, reporting in and reporting out, is relatively meaningless if no account whatever is being taken of the fish being caught by Spanish vessels at that time. Secondly, what assurances do the Fisheries Ministers have from their counterparts elsewhere in Europe that as of 1 January next year the resources will be in place to police what already seems to us a scheme that is full of loopholes and potential ambiguities?

My final point relates to what the Minister said in answer to a question from his own Back Benches. He said that so long as he was Fisheries Minister, the House could be reassured on these points. As previous Fisheries Ministers have been wandering in and out of the debate all evening, in all honesty that is not much of an assurance to give the House. Fisheries Ministers have very short tenures of office. What the fishermen of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and everywhere else are looking for is an indication from the Government of some determination to make this great natural resource industry a top priority of policy, rather than something that can be bought and sold, a subsidiary element of negotiations in Europe.

9.37 pm

I am probably the only Member of the House whose constituency has an international water border with another country. South Down has two thirds of the fishing industry of Northern Ireland and is adjacent to the Republic of Ireland. I emphasise the point made by the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley). Is the Minister going to Brussels this week with a thought-out plan agreed with the Ministry of Fisheries in the Republic of Ireland?

The deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist party was in Dublin today with one of the Northern Ireland fishing organizations—that is very creditable in these political times—trying to get a compromise. We have precedents in dealing with the Irish Republic in terms of quota exchanges year by year. Can the Minister state categorically—or state at all—that he will be making a joint approach in Brussels on Thursday, or whenever it is, which will alleviate the great difficulties that the fishermen of Northern Ireland and of the Irish Republic will enter into if this compromise does not go through? Even if it does go through, there will be many difficulties still remaining and a lot of expense incurred. Will he ensure that some financial burden is taken off the Northern Ireland fishermen because of their position? I see that the Minister is edging off his seat. I should like him to reassure me that he and his Department will do everything on Thursday and afterwards to have this agreement on an all-Ireland basis because of the traditional, historical intermingling of the fishing in the Irish sea.

9.38 pm

I shall try to respond to as many points as possible. I am delighted that so many hon. Members with fishing interests—and a few with no such interests—have been able to contribute to the debate, but I must add that as a Scot I was very disappointed that no member of the shadow Scottish Office team spoke or, indeed, bothered to grace the debate with their presence. That is a worry, and I am sure that representatives of the Scottish fishing industry listening to our proceedings will have noted it.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, my hon. Friend the Minister of State and I will reflect the contributions of all hon. Members in agreeing the negotiating line that the Government will adopt at the Fisheries Council in Luxembourg later this week.

The interest shown in the debate demonstrates the continued importance of our fishing industry. The Government recognise the valuable contribution that the industry makes to the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, and the vital employment opportunities that fishing provides for many remote and fragile coastal communities. Various hon. Members have brought that to my attention today and over the summer recess. I stress that the Government are committed to ensuring a sustainable and profitable future for the whole United Kingdom fishing industry—an industry with long and treasured traditions for an island state such as ours.

Various hon. Members have raised concerns about the future viability of the industry in the light of proposed Community measures to introduce effort control in western waters. Effort control is one of the key issues facing us all: the need to balance the fishing effort of the European fishing fleet with the fishing opportunities available to it is crucial to ensuring continued sustainable and profitable fishing activity for all.

The hon. Members for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) and for Londonderry, East (Mr. Ross) asked about specific arrangements for Northern Ireland vessels. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State said in his opening speech, we are conscious of the circumstances of the Northern Ireland fleet, notably when it is fishing traditional grounds in the Irish sea. The so-called "voisinage" agreement has operated successfully in the past and provides a good foundation for future arrangements. That is why we have opened up a dialogue with the Department of the Marine in Dublin as to how best we can deal with the matter within the framework of the control measures to apply to western waters.

I am confident that the use of the presidency compromise, as proposed, will cater for the vast bulk of trips by the vast majority of the Northern Ireland fleet, as fewer than 40 vessels go on trips lasting more than 72 hours.

The hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) asked how the flag state monitored its fleet's effort. Of course the flag state has an important responsibility to monitor the activities of its own fleet. However, I fully recognise the fears of United Kingdom fishermen. We have therefore argued over the summer for a central role for the coastal state. Spanish vessels will have to hail in in real time when entering UK or Irish waters.

Many hon. Members touched on the subject of bureaucracy. The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of negotiations for a practical, sensible system to integrate the Spanish and Portuguese fleets into the common fisheries policy. My hon. Friend the Minister of State and I have been working hard behind the scenes throughout the summer in bilateral discussions with other member states to canvass support for some alternatives to the bureaucratic, impractical proposals first advanced by the Commission. I do not want to tempt providence, but I believe that we have gone a long way down the road towards agreeing the outline for an acceptable outcome at the Fisheries Council later this week.

Many hon. Members have rightly identified the many risks and costs attached to bureaucratic proposals for monitoring fishing effort on a real-time basis. The Government have led the way in pointing out how excessively complex such a scheme would be, and arguing against heavy-handed bureaucracy. From the outset, we identified our key negotiating objectives for an acceptable alternative, and we have throughout kept in close consultation with the British fishing industry. I am pleased that we have managed to maintain a close dialogue with the industry north and south of the border, and I commend all concerned for that.

We want practical measures to integrate the Spanish and Portuguese fleets into western waters. From the outset, we have sought to avoid the unnecessary imposition of any new regulatory burdens on the British fleet, although we recognise that the arrangements should not discriminate between European Union member states. On the one hand, we want to achieve satisfactory protection for fishing grounds of importance to the UK fleet, particularly the sensitive water around Ireland and the Irish box. On the other hand, in order to ensure adequate control of the fleets of other member states, we must accept some of the quota requirements for our own fleet when it is in foreign waters. That is why we have long argued that the coastal state should have a key role in managing waters under its jurisdiction.

The hon. Members for Glanford and Scunthorpe and for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) asked whether we were satisfied that other member states would be ready to start on 1 January next year. The answer is yes—we believe that all states will be ready on the same date.

The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland talked long about the letter of last year from my hon. Friend the Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack) to fishermen. I have spent time reading and re-reading that letter, in which he stated:
"The UK will be able to monitor its own fishing effort and provided this does not increase, no new measures to control effort will need to be imposed in the UK industry."
Later he explained:
"Vessels going into or out of the area of the Irish Box and the other defined fishing areas in Western Waters will have to hail in and out to both coastal states and the flag state, which will enable us to keep track of Spanish fishing activity."
The position is therefore clear: there will be no need to place restrictions on the amount of time that vessels spend at sea so long as fishing effort does not increase.

On that point, my hon. Friend must recognise that, particularly in relation to his point about the Irish box, there is considerable concern among fleets in the south-west that the prosecuting authority is the flag state and that, with the best will in the world and not wishing to intrude into too sensitive waters, the Spanish record in prosecuting its own fleet is not good.

I accept what my hon. Friend says and I assure him that that will be very much on the agenda of both my hon. Friend the Minister and myself.

I should like to say a quick word to my hon. Friends and Opposition Members who talked briefly about quitting the common fisheries policy. It is wrong to talk down the UK industry and to underestimate our ability to defend our fishermen in the European Union. We cannot do that by putting our heads in the sand and by wishing that the CFP did not exist. We must work within it to ensure that the regime operates as effectively as possible in the interests of our fishermen. Being at the heart is better than being out on a limb. Some form of common European fisheries policy is essential as fish do not respect international borders and their conservation cannot be achieved unilaterally or in isolation.

Do the hon. Members who question our involvement in the common fisheries policy really want to call into question the livelihood of our fishermen? If the answer is no, I must point out that if there is no market for their fish, the economic position of fishermen is gravely threatened.

We have had a good and far-ranging debate and I commend the motion to the House. I believe that the House and the fishing industry in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland can look forward with some confidence to the Fisheries Council on Thursday.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 150, Noes 236.

Division No. 220]

[9.47 pm


Ainger, NickGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Grocott, Bruce
Ashton, JoeGunnell, John
Austin-Walker, JohnHall, Mike
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Hanson, David
Barron, KevinHeppell, John
Battle, JohnHill, Keith (Streatham)
Bayley, HughHoon, Geoffrey
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretHowarth, George (Knowsley North)
Beith, Rt Hon A JHowells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Bell, StuartHughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Benn, Rt Hon TonyHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Benton, JoeHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Berry, RogerHutton, John
Boateng, PaulIllsley, Eric
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Ingram, Adam
Caborn, RichardJackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Callaghan, JimJamieson, David
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Chisholm, MalcolmJones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Clapham, MichaelKeen, Alan
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Kennedy, Charles (Ross.C&S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Coffey, AnnKhabra, Piara S
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Kilfoyle, Peter
Cousins, JimKirkwood, Archy
Cummings, JohnLewis, Terry
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)Liddell, Mrs Helen
Dafis, CynogLlwyd, Elfyn
Darling, AlistairLoyden, Eddie
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth)McAllion, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)McAvoy, Thomas
Dewar, DonaldMcCartney, Ian
Dixon, DonMacdonald, Calum
Dobson, FrankMcGrady, Eddie
Donohoe, Brian HMcLeish, Henry
Dowd, JimMcMaster, Gordon
Eastham, KenMcNamara, Kevin
Etherington, BillMcWilliam, John
Evans, John (St Helens N)Maddock, Diana
Ewing, Mrs MargaretMahon, Alice
Flynn, PaulMartlew, Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)Meale, Alan
Galloway, GeorgeMichael, Alun
Gerard, NeilMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Golding, Mrs LlinMichie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Milburn, Alan
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)Roche, Mrs Barbara
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesRoss, William (E Londonderry)
Moonie, Dr LewisSalmond, Alex
Morgan, RhodriSimpson, Alan
Morley, ElliotSkinner, Dennis
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Soley, Clive
Murphy, PaulSpellar, John
O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)Stevenson, George
O'Hara, EdwardStrang, Dr. Gavin
Olner, BillTaylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Paisley, The Reverend IanTimms, Stephen
Pearson, IanTipping, Paddy
Pickthall, ColinTouhig, Don
Pike, Peter LWalker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Pope, GregWallace, James
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Welsh, Andrew
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)Wigley, Dafydd
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)Williams, Rt Hon Alan (SW'n W)
Prescott, Rt Hon JohnWilson, Brian
Primarolo, DawnWright, Dr Tony
Quin, Ms JoyceYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Raynsford, Nick
Reid, Dr John

Tellers for the Ayes:

Rendel, David

Mr. George Mudie and

Robertson, George (Hamilton)

Mr. Robert Ainsworth.


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Aitken, Rt Hon JonathanCope, Rt Hon Sir John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Cormack, Sir Patrick
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Couchman, James
Ancram, MichaelCran, James
Arbuthnot, JamesCurrie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Ashby, DavidDay, Stephen
Atkins, RobertDeva, Nirj Joseph
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Devlin, Tim
Baldry, TonyDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Dover, Den
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Duncan, Alan
Bates, MichaelDuncan Smith, Iain
Batiste, SpencerDunn, Bob
Bellingham, HenryDurant, Sir Anthony
Bendall, VivianElletson, Harold
Beresford, Sir PaulEvans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnEvans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Boswell, TimEvans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaEvennett, David
Bowden, Sir AndrewFabricant, Michael
Bowis, JohnFenner, Dame Peggy
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Brandreth, GylesFishburn, Dudley
Brazier, JulianForman, Nigel
Bright, Sir GrahamForth, Eric
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterFox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Browning, Mrs AngelaFrench, Douglas
Budgen, NicholasFry, Sir Peter
Burns, SimonGale, Roger
Burt, AlistairGallie, Phil
Butterfill, JohnGardiner, Sir George
Carlisle, John (Luton North)Garnier, Edward
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)Gillan, Cheryl
Carrington, MatthewGoodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Channon, Rt Hon PaulGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Chapman, Sir SydneyGorman, Mrs Teresa
Clappison, JamesGrant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Coe, SebastianGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Colvin, MichaelGrylls, Sir Michael
Congdon, DavidHague, William
Conway, DerekHamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Oppenheim, Phillip
Hampson, Dr KeithOttaway, Richard
Hanley, Rt Hon JeremyPage, Richard
Hannam, Sir JohnPaice, James
Hargreaves, AndrewPatnick, Sir Irvine
Haselhurst, AlanPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hawkins, NickPawsey, James
Hawksley, WarrenPorter, David (Waveney)
Hayes, JerryPowell, William (Corby)
Heald, OliverRathbone, Tim
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidRedwood, Rt Hon John
Hendry, CharlesRenton, Rt Hon Tim
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir TerenceRichards, Rod
Hill, James (Southampton Test)Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)Robathan, Andrew
Horam, JohnRobertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Hunter, AndrewSackville, Tom
Jack, MichaelShaw, David (Dover)
Jenkin, BernardShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Jessel, TobyShephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Sims, Roger
Jones, Robert B (W'Hertfdshr)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Key, RobertSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Kirkhope, TimothySpeed, Sir Keith
Knapman, RogerSpicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)Spink, Dr Robert
Knox, Sir DavidSpring, Richard
Lait, Mrs JacquiSproat, Iain
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lawrence, Sir IvanSteen, Anthony
Legg, BarrySumberg, David
Leigh, EdwardSweeney, Walter
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Sykes, John
Lidington, DavidTapsell, Sir Peter
Lightbown, Sir DavidTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Lord, MichaelTaylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Luff, PeterTemple-Morris, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasThomason, Roy
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnThompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
MacKay, AndrewThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Maclean, Rt Hon DavidThornton, Sir Malcolm
McLoughlin, PatrickThurnham, Peter
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickTownend, John (Bridlington)
Maitland, Lady OlgaTownsend, Cyril D (Bexfyh'th)
Malone, GeraldTrend, Michael
Mans, KeithTwinn, Dr Ian
Marland, PaulViggers, Peter
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Walden, George
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Waller, Gary
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Ward, John
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr BrianWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Merchant, PiersWaterson, Nigel
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Watts, John
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)Whittingdale, John
Moate, Sir RogerWiddecombe, Ann
Monro, Rt Hon Sir HectorWiggin, Sir Jerry
Montgomery, Sir FergusWilkinson, John
Needham, Rt Hon RichardWilletts, David
Nelson, AnthonyWilshire, David
Neubert, Sir MichaelWinterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Newton, Rt Hon TonyWood, Timothy
Nicholls, PatrickYoung, Rt Hon Sir George
Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)

Tellers for the Noes:

Norris, Steve

Mr. Bowen Wells and

Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley

Mr. Gary Streeter.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 233, Noes 152.

Division No. 221]

[10.01 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Ailken, Rt Hon JonathanEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Evennett, David
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Fabricant, Michael
Ancram, MichaelFenner, Dame Peggy
Arbuthnot, JamesField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Fishburn, Dudley
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Forman, Nigel
Ashby, DavidForth, Eric
Atkins, Rt Hon RobertFreeman, Rt Hon Roger
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)French, Douglas
Baldry, TonyFry, Sir Peter
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Gale, Roger
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Gallia, Phil
Bates, MichaelGardiner, Sir George
Batiste, SpencerGarnier, Edward
Bellingham, HenryGillan, Cheryl
Bendall, VivianGoodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Beresford, Sir PaulGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGrant Sir A (SW Cambs)
Boswell, TimGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaGrylls, Sir Michael
Bowden, Sir AndrewHague, Rt Hon William
Bowis, JohnHamilton, Sir Archibald
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brandreth, GylesHampson, Dr Keith
Brazier, JulianHanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Bright, Sir GrahamHannam, Sir John
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterHargreaves, Andrew
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Haselhurst, Sir Alan
Browning, Mrs AngelaHawkins, Nick
Budgen, NicholasHawksley, Warren
Burns, SimonHayes, Jerry
Burt, AlistairHeald, Oliver
Butterfill, JohnHeathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, John (Luton North)Hendry, Charles
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Carrington, MatthewHill, James (Southampton Test)
Channon, Rt Hon PaulHogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Chapman, Sir SydneyHoram, John
Clappison, JamesHowell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyHughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Coe, SebastianHunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Colvin, MichaelHunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Congdon, DavidHunter, Andrew
Conway, DerekJack, Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)Jenkin, Bernard
Cope, Rt Hon Sir JohnJessel, Toby
Cormack, Sir PatrickJohnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Couchman, JamesJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Cran, JamesJones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)Key, Robert
Davies, Quentin (Stamford)Kirkhope, Timothy
Day, StephenKnapman, Roger
Deva, Nirj JosephKnight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Devlin, TimKnight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Dorrell, Rt Hon StephenKnox, Sir David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLait, Mrs Jacqui
Dover, DenLamont, Rt Hon Norman
Duncan, AlanLawrence, Sir Ivan
Duncan-Smith, IainLegg, Barry
Dunn, BobLeigh, Edward
Durant, Sir AnthonyLester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Elletson, HaroldLidington, David
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)Lightbown, Sir David
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)Lord, Michael

Luff, PeterShaw, David (Dover)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnShephard, Rt Hon Gillian
MacKay, AndrewShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Maclean, Rt Hon DavidSims, Roger
McLoughlin, PatrickSkeet, Sir Trevor
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Maitland, Lady OlgaSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Malone, GeraldSpeed, Sir Keith
Mans, KeithSpicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Marland, PaulSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Spink, Dr Robert
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Spring, Richard
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Sproat, Iain
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr BrianStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Merchant, PiersSteen, Anthony
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Sumberg, David
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)Sweeney, Walter
Moate, Sir RogerSykes, John
Monro, Rt Hon Sir HectorTapsell, Sir Peter
Montgomery, Sir FergusTemple-Morris, Peter
Needham, Rt Hon RichardThomason, Roy
Nelson, AnthonyThompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Neubert, Sir MichaelThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Newton, Rt Hon TonyThornton, Sir Malcolm
Nicholis, PatrickThumham, Peter
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Norris, SteveTrend, Michael
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir CranleyTwinn, Dr Ian
Oppenheim, PhillipViggers, Peter
Ottaway, RichardWalden, George
Page, RichardWaller, Gary
Paice, JamesWard, John
Patnick, Sir IrvineWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyWaterson, Nigel
Pawsey, JamesWatts, John
Powell, William (Corby)Wells, Bowen
Rathbone, TimWhittlingdale, John
Redwood, Rt Hon JohnWiddecombe, Ann
Renton, Rt Hon TimWiggin, Sir Jerry
Richards, RodWilletts, David
RifKind, Rt Hon MalcolmWilshire, David
Robathan, AndrewWinterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)Wood, Timothy
Robinson, Mark (Somerton)Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela

Dr. Liam Fox and

Sackville, Tom

Mr. Gary Streeter.


Ainger, NickClark, Dr David (South Shields)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Ashton, JoeCoffey, Ann
Austin-Walker, JohnCook, Robin (Livingston)
Banks TonyCorbyn, Jeremy
Barron, KevinCousins, Jim
Battle, JohnCummings, John
Bayley, HughCunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretDafis, Cynog
Beith, Rt Hon A JDarling, Alistair
Bell, StuartDavies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth)
Benn, Rt Hon TonyDavis, Terry
Benton, JoeDewar, Donald
Berry, RogerDixon, Don
Blunkett, DavidDobson, Frank
Boateng, PaulDonohoe, Brian H
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Dowd, Jim
Caborn, RichardEastham, Ken
Callaghan, JimEtherington, Bill
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Evans, John (St Helens N)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth Valley)Flynn, Paul
Chisholm, MalcolmFoster, Don (Bath)
Clapham, MichaelGalloway, George

Gerrard, NeilMcNamara, Kevin
Golding, Mrs LlinMcWilliam, John
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Maddock, Diana
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Mahon, Alice
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Martlew, Eric
Grocott, BruceMeale, Alan
Gunnell, JohnMichael, Alun
Hall, MikeMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Hanson, DavidMichie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Heppell, JohnMilburn, Alan
Hill, Keith (Streatham)Miller, Andrew
Hoon, GeoffreyMitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Howarth, George (Knowsley North)Moonie, Dr Lewis
Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)Morgan, Rhodri
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)Morley, Elliot
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hutton, JohnMurphy, Paul
Illsley, EricO'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)
Ingram, AdamO'Hara, Edward
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)Olner, Bill
Jamieson, DavidOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)Paisley, The Reverend Ian
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)Pearson, Ian
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)Pike, Peter L
Jowell, TessaPope, Greg
Keen, AlanPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Khabra, Piara SPrescott, Rt Hon John
Kilfoyle, PeterPrimarolo, Dawn
Kirkwood, ArchyQuin, Ms Joyce
Lewis, TerryRaynsford, Nick
Liddell, Mrs HelenReid, Dr John
Llwyd, ElfynRendel, David
Loyden, EddieRobertson, George (Hamilton)
McAllion, JohnRoche, Mrs Barbara
McAvoy, ThomasSalmond, Alex
McCartney, IanSimpson, Alan
Macdonald, CalumSkinner, Dennis
McGrady, EddieSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McLeish, HenrySoley, Clive
McMaster, GordonSpellar, John

Stevenson, GeorgeWigley, Dafydd
Strang, Dr. GavinWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)Wilson, Brian
Timms, StephenWright, Dr Tony
Tipping, PaddyYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Touhig, Don
Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold

Tellers for the Noes:

Wallace, James

Mr. George Mudie and

Welsh, Andrew

Mr. Robert Ainsworth.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That this House takes note of European Community Documents No. 7596/95, on establishing a control system applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy, No. 7465/95, relating to Community financial contribution towards certain expenditure incurred by the Member States in implementing the monitoring and control system applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy, and No. 8817/95, concerning a proposal for a Council Regulation establishing the list of species to be recorded in the fisheries logbook and landing declarations; welcomes the agreement reached at the Fisheries Council on 15th June on fishing effort levels; and supports the Government's efforts to secure effective measures to monitor and enforce fishing activity in Western Waters, including the Irish Box, while not placing unnecessary burdens on the fishing industry.