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Leaving the EU: Fishing Policy

Volume 627: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2017

7. What discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation on the Government’s policy on fishing after the UK leaves the EU. (900492)

It is perhaps remiss of me not to welcome new Members from Scotland and elsewhere to this House, in particular when I am answering a question from one of the potential Scottish Fathers of the House.

Since the vote to leave the EU last year, I have spoken regularly with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, which I most recently met in Peterhead on 16 June. In our discussions I emphasised that we will take Scotland out of the failed common fisheries policy and extend control of our waters up to 200 nautical miles or the median line with nearby coastal states.

I hope the Secretary of State will join me in welcoming the news today that the Marine Stewardship Council has again accredited North sea cod as a sustainable species. The cod recovery programme saw some of the best and worst examples of fisheries management. The best were the measures that came from the industry and had credibility with the industry. Will the Government look at the lessons of the cod recovery programme and take the best examples of fishery management to inform future policy?

I, too, absolutely welcome today’s announcement on cod. I confirm that we will look to the industry to help shape its future. One thing is clear: this Government will take Scotland and the UK out of the hated common fisheries policy, but the SNP Scottish Government would take us right back in.

Will the whole Scottish fishing industry, including processors and catchers, have the opportunity to be represented in consultations on the design of the new fisheries policy?

I very much welcome my hon. Friend to this House as the MP for one of the most important fishing constituencies in the United Kingdom, for which he will be a strong advocate. As he knows, when I visited Peterhead I had the opportunity to meet processors, and I take on board fully their importance in shaping the future of the industry after the CFP.

News has reached Westminster that the Secretary of State has a new deputy in the House of Lords. Will he therefore instruct his deputy to procure a copy of the “Brexit: devolution” report that the House of Lords published yesterday, which states

“that, in the event that the UK Government does not secure a UK-wide agreement that adequately reflects Scotland’s specific needs”—

that includes fishing—

“there is a strong political and economic case for making differentiated arrangements for Scotland”?

I hope you, Mr Speaker, will forgive me for laughing when I hear the SNP extol the House of Lords, which on every other occasion it condemns. The reference—[Interruption.]

Order. Mr Docherty-Hughes, despite the fact that your shiny pate is secreted behind the face of Mr Cowan, I can tell what you are up to. You are behaving in your usual outlandish manner, from which I hope you will now desist.

There will in any event be no need for the provision to which the hon. Member for West Dunbartonshire (Martin Docherty-Hughes) refers—this United Kingdom Government will deliver a good deal on Brexit for Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom.