Ben Bradshaw

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Question on the Common Fisheries Policy

At yesterday’s Foreign and Common Office Questions, I asked the Secretary of State about the Common Fisheries Policy.

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): The right hon. Gentleman will have noticed that fish swim around and are no respecters of national boundaries, which means that any effective policy to conserve stocks has to be agreed with our neighbours, so why do some in his party still seem to hanker after a return to a chaotic series of multilateral and bilateral agreements, which would be devastating for our marine environment, rather than the sensible reforms that he and our Government before him achieved?

Mr Hague: The observation that fish swim around is not among the most devastating revelations to be heard in the House of Commons recently, but we know the point that the right hon. Gentleman is making. The point I would make in return is that the Common Fisheries Policy has been one of the European Union’s greatest catastrophes, and we are much more likely to encourage good conservation and a prosperous future for fisheries across the European Union if this is done on a more decentralised basis. It is not about not co-operating with our neighbours; it is about co-operating with them on a meaningful scale and at a regional level so that sensible decisions can be taken, unlike the absolutely disastrous policy that preceded it.

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