HC Deb 26 March 1975 vol 889 cc455-6
1. Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to provide that the English bank of the River Tweed, those reaches of the river which are wholly in England and the adjacent area of the Northumberland coast shall no longer be governed by Scottish law in respect of fishing and related matters.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Hugh D. Brown)

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Beith

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that the present situation is something of an anomaly and is felt to be so by those fishermen who pay their rates in England but are governed by Scottish law. The gill net ban has led some people to feel that their interests have not been sufficiently carefully considered. Will the hon. Gentleman accept that if these powers pass to the Scottish Assembly this kind of government without representation will be unacceptable on the English side of the border?

Mr. Brown

I do not want to encourage English nationalism—[Interruption] We have enough bother with Scottish nationalism. There is a genuine difficulty here, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman recognises. All the previous legislation has recognised that it is impossible to consider the problems and prosperity of the Tweed and salmon fishing in isolation—in other words, it is recognised that it is impossible to differentiate between England and Scotland. For these practical reasons, and in the interests of all concerned, it has always been desirable to deal with this in United Kingdom legislation, but with the main emphasis on the fact that it is a Scottish river and the fish are mainly Scottish fish.

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