Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Yet more avoidance of the subject

As this blog reported Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked HMG whether they intended to discuss repatriation of agriculture and fisheries (the last a potentially very popular move in this country) in their negotiations about EU reform and got a very evasive answer.

Not satisfied with that he went back into the fray and asked HMG:

further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 11 June, whether the Prime Minister has yet discussed with other European Union leaders the repatriation of agriculture and fisheries policies to member states, and what position he has taken in those discussions.

Um, no, is the answer though phrased somewhat differently by Lord Gardiner of Kimble or, to be quite precise, his minions:

Discussions are at an early stage. My reply of 11 June referred to some of the areas where the Government believes the EU needs to change.

It did not mention fisheries. Does that mean that it might be raised as a subject at some later stage?

Sheryll Murray, MP for South-East Cornwall, who has been involved in various organizations to do with fishing, such as Save Britain's Fish and FAL, has put up this message on her wall on Facebook:

I was very pleased to be elected Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fisheries and am hoping the Group will undertake some reports on various fisheries issues. I am pleased that the group has elected Vice Chairmen from Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP and SDLP parties and look forward to working together to get the best for our fishermen.

I would like to pay tribute to Austin Mitchell who was Chairman of the Group for so many years. Indeed, I attended many meetings of the Group myself as an Industry representative since 1991.

We look forward to working with Sheryll and have already approached her with a hope and expectation of seeing many useful reports on the reality of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The blog will have a full list of the members as soon as it will be available.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Good question, poor answer

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a fighter of many years' standing against the European Union and, particularly, against the Common Fisheries Policy, put down the following Written Question:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will press for negotiations for the reform of the European Union to include the repatriation of agriculture and fisheries powers to member states.

If there is one set of powers we need to repatriate it is that of fisheries but is the Prime Minister likely to negotiate that? Well, not according to HMG's reply:

The Prime Minister has started to discuss his plans for EU reform and renegotiation with other EU leaders. He has been clear that the plans involve reforming welfare and immigration rules, increasing economic competitiveness and cutting red tape to create jobs and growth for hard working families, and protecting the UK’s interests outside the euro. It also means halting the constant flow of powers to Brussels including by ensuring a stronger role for national Parliaments.

Is that a yes or a no?

The European Commission has published its annual consultation paper in preparation for setting next year's fish quota later in the year. It is now asking for the views of Member States, the fishing industry and non-governmental organisations in regional Advisory Councils, as well as interested citizens and organisations via an online public consultation. The input will be used by the Commission when it will be making for the 2016 fishing opportunities during this autumn.

You can find the full text of the Consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2016 under the Common Fisheries Policy here and the conditions for the consultation here.