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Sims, Roger

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Soames, Nicholas

Speed, Sir Keith

Spencer, Sir Derek

Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)

Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)

Spink, Dr Robert

Spring, Richard

Sproat, Iain

Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)

Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Steen, Anthony

Stephen, Michael

Stern, Michael

Stewart, Allan

Streeter, Gary

Sumberg, David

Sweeney, Walter

Sykes, John

Tapsell, Sir Peter

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)

Temple-Morris, Peter

Thomason, Roy

Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thornton, Sir Malcolm

Thurnham, Peter

Townend, John (Bridlington)

Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)

Tracey, Richard

Tredinnick, David

Trend, Michael

Trotter, Neville

Twinn, Dr Ian

Vaughan, Sir Gerard

Viggers, Peter

Waldegrave, Rt Hon William

Walden, George

Walker, Bill (N Tayside)

Waller, Gary

Ward, John

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Waterson, Nigel

Watts, John

Wells, Bowen

Whitney, Ray

Whittingdale, John

Widdecombe, Ann

Wiggin, Sir Jerry

Wilkinson, John

Willetts, David

Wilshire, David

Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)

Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)

Wolfson, Mark

Wood, Timothy

Yeo, Tim

Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes: Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Sydney Chapman.

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Question 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.

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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.

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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.

7.14 pm

Dr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East): I beg to move,

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. Nick Hawkins (Blackpool, South): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Strang: I must point out that I am not going to give way too frequently for the reason outlined by Madam Deputy Speaker, but I shall give way briefly to the hon. Gentleman now.

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:

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"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."

Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Strang: No, I am not giving way again. The headline in this week's Fishing News is "We face ruin". The first sentence of the article states that fishermen in the south-west

"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 --

Dr. Strang: I have already dealt with the hon. Gentleman. I have given way once and may do so again but I shall not be interrupted after every sentence.

The truth is that the deal has been rejected by the fishing industry.

Several hon. Members rose --

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman has made his view very clear. No hon. Member is obliged to give way unless he or she chooses to do so.

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 --

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. I should not have to remind hon. Members twice in about two minutes of the normal rules and courtesies of the House.

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

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waters. 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 --

Dr. Strang: I shall give way to one hon. Member--the hon. Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman)--and then I must continue.

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