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Leaving the EU: Common Fisheries Policy

Volume 652: debated on Wednesday 16 January 2019

6. What recent assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the Scottish fishing industry of the UK leaving the common fisheries policy. (908511)

Leaving the common fisheries policy will allow the UK to take back control of our waters, becoming an independent coastal state. We will negotiate a fairer share of fishing opportunities to benefit fishermen in Scotland and across the whole United Kingdom.

I thank my right hon. Friend for the positive assessment that he has just given the prospects not just for Scotland’s fishing industry from leaving the EU’s common fisheries policy, but for the whole UK’s. Does he agree, though, that those benefits will be lost if we listened to the arguments of those who want to separate our Union but reunite Scotland with the European Union’s common fisheries policy?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The SNP is a false friend to Scottish fishermen. It wants to keep Scotland in the CFP by staying in the EU, and, failing that, it wants an independent Scotland to rejoin the CFP. Throughout the negotiations, this Government have shown that they have put the interests of Scottish fishermen and those across the UK at the heart of our approach to leaving the EU.

Would no deal not be a disaster for the fishing industry and its support industries, and should we not say no to no deal now?

If that is the hon. Gentleman’s view, he should have voted for the Prime Minister’s deal last night.

If the Government’s commitment to ending the CFP on 31 December next year is sincere, why do they continue to resist amendments to put that date in the Fisheries Bill?

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman, a former colleague, will find that that is an accurate interpretation of the Government’s position. Colleagues such as my hon. Friend the Member for Banff and Buchan (David Duguid) have argued strongly for that case, and we will see what happens when the Bill returns on Report.