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Column 769Sims, Roger
Skeet, Sir Trevor
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Speed, Sir Keith
Spencer, Sir Derek
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Spink, Dr Robert
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Townend, John (Bridlington)
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Twinn, Dr Ian
Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Tellers for the Noes: Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Sydney Chapman.
Column 769Question accordingly negatived.
Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments) and agreed to.
Madam Deputy Speaker-- forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
That this House reaffirms the Government's commitment to maintaining through ticketing; welcomes the publication by the Rail Regulator of the Consultation Document "Retailing of Tickets at Stations"; endorses the view expressed in the document that the continuation of network benefits such as through ticketing "will be one of the key tests of the success of the restructuring of the industry"; notes that despite massive investment in British Rail the proportion of travel undertaken and freight moved by train has steadily decreased during nationalisation; and supports the Government's commitment to seeking to reverse this decline through the creation of a flourishing railway system operated by the private sector which will offer a better deal for passengers and for freight customers.
Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes): I must inform the House that Madam Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister. There is to be a limit of 10 minutes on speeches and she trusts that Front Benchers will exercise considerable self-restraint.
That this House takes note of the agreement of the Council of Fisheries Ministers, allowing Spanish fishing vessels into all areas of the Irish Box other than Area VIIa and Area VIIf north of 50 30` and allowing increased access for Spanish fishing vessels to the remaining waters to the west of the United Kingdom; believes that this agreement presents an unacceptable threat to the long-term economic viability of fishing communities in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and places an unsustainable pressure upon the fish stocks in these already sensitive waters; and calls upon the Government to convey to the European Commission the extent to which this agreement has undermined the credibility of the Common Fisheries Policy in the view of the United Kingdom industry and to raise in the Council of Fisheries Ministers and in the European Council the whole question of the extent of access granted by the Common Fisheries Policy to non-United Kingdom registered vessels to fish in the waters around the United Kingdom.
The motion sets out--objectively, I believe--the agreement that was reached at the Council of Fisheries Ministers before Christmas and declares that it is unacceptable because of its implications for the long-term future of our fishing communities. It calls on the Government to spell out to Brussels the fact that the deal is undermining any confidence that our industry had in the common fisheries policy and urges the Minister to raise the question of access to British waters for non-British vessels.
Mr. Hawkins: The hon. Gentleman and his party have repeatedly made it clear that they would accept without argument everything that came from Brussels so how can he, in all seriousness, move this motion when my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has negotiated an excellent deal, especially for the fishermen of the north-west coast, by ensuring that the Spanish continue to be excluded from the Irish sea?
Dr. Strang: If that is all that we are going to get, the less I give way the better. The hon. Gentleman talks nonsense. We have fundamentally opposed the common agricultural policy and have criticised aspects of the common fisheries policy. I shall deal with the hon. Gentleman's point in the course of my speech.
The amendment calls on the House to congratulate the Government on securing the agreement. I do not know what sort of world Ministers are living in, but why has the agreement been denounced by all the fishermen's organisations? I refer hon. Members to a couple of headlines. The Times of 11 January 1995 contains the headline:
Column 772"fishermen plan to wage war on Spanish trawlers".
The accompanying article states:
"Fishermen in Devon and Cornwall yesterday promised a `prolonged campaign' of action, beginning next month, to keep Spanish trawlers out of British waters . . . Mike Townsend, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers' Association, said that his members would consider any means possible to stop the Spanish fishing in the 90,000 square miles around Ireland."
"say the Brussels deal on Spanish accession reached just before Christmas will destroy them. They totally reject it and say they will not take part in any further consultation to finalise the agreement."
As the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) knows, his colleagues who represent constituencies in the south-west criticised the deal before Christmas.
Mr. Nicholls rose --
The truth is that the deal has been rejected by the fishing industry.
Several hon. Members rose --
Dr. Strang: If the deal is so good that the House should congratulate the Government on it, why did not the Minister vote for it when it came before the Council of Fisheries Ministers after all the negotiations? When his grandchildren ask him what he did as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to keep the Spanish vessels out of British waters and to defend our fishing communities, the answer will be, "I abstained." It is nonsense to ask the House to congratulate the Government on the deal. The truth is that it is a bad deal and the House knows it.
Several hon. Members rose --
Dr. Strang: It is not a good deal; it is a bad deal, and the Government know it. Spanish vessels will have new access to most areas of the Irish box. Contrary to the assertion in the Government's amendment, only area VIIa and the northern part of the Bristol channel will be protected. Spanish vessels will also have increased access to all other waters, stretching from the south-west of England to the north of Scotland.
Hon. Members who know anything about the fishing industry know perfectly well that stocks in those waters are under enormous pressure. They are sensitive waters and there is no case for additional fishing effort in them. There is no case for Spanish access to those
Column 773waters. Under the Spanish accession treaty, whatever deal was made on western waters other than the Irish box, it did not need come into effect until the year 2002. The Government have still to explain why they have allowed the changes to become effective from 1996. Several hon. Members rose --