Lords accuse Minister of fishy behaviour
Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon
UK Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon, has been accused of disregarding Parliament in negotiations to reform EU Fisheries Policy, and will be questioned by the Lords EU Fisheries Sub-Committee on Thursday 12 July.
In the one-off evidence session, the Committee will question Mr Benyon on the way his department has failed to keep Parliament informed about the Government’s position on behalf of the UK in fast moving negotiations on two proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), as well as wanting answers to their questions about the compromise deal reached.
Speaking ahead of the evidence session, Committee chairman, Lord Carter, said:
“The Committee thinks that Mr Benyon has some serious questions to answer about the way that the Government has failed to communicate with Parliament with regards to vitally important fisheries negotiations. Only in exceptional circumstances should the Government sign up to something in Brussels without being given the green light by both the Commons and the Lords. We want to know why it was necessary in this instance and why the Committee was not kept better informed. We learned far more about what was going on in Brussels from the Minister via the media rather than from his dialogue with Parliament.”
He also said that although the discard ban looks good on paper, without a clear timetable it is worthless. He said that the Committee wants to know why the Government has neglected to ensure political urgency on this issue.
“The Committee want to hear more about the Government’s concerns about minimum standards for an EU sustainability label for fisheries and further information on how fishermen and environmental groups, through local Advisory Councils, will feed in to the new arrangements, and how Member States across the EU will manage quota rights in a sustainable way, which also keeps capacity in line with fishing opportunities”, said Lord Carter.
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