§ 36. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what study he has made of the effect which Great Britain's entry into the Common Market would have upon the existing international agreements, the conflict of interests relating to fishing grounds and territorial waters and the catching and sale of fish by British fishing vessels.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)
The United Kingdom and the Common Market countries bordering the North Sea are all parties to existing Conventions dealing with such matters as fishery limits, the conduct of fishing operations, and conservation in this area. British entry into the Common Market would not affect these Conventions. I understand that the fisheries policy of the Common Market countries has not yet been settled, but they are substantial importers of fish and our exports might be expected to benefit accordingly if we entered.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the fishing industry has been thrown into chaos and disaster by the Government uncertainty on such matters as the Common Market, the conflict over territorial waters and 579 farcical and insultingly inadequate subsidies? Will he state in detail whether he expects that entry into the Common Market will affect the fortunes of the fishing industry beneficially?
§ Mr. Soames
I am afraid that I cannot answer that. Like all other aspects, the fortunes of the fishing industry would be a matter for negotiation.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Would not the Minister agree that the more he studies this proposal for the United Kingdom to enter the Common Market, the mare convinced he is that it is just utter nonsense?