European Communities (Amendment) Bill — New clause — 9 Jun 1998
Lords amendment considered.
Lords amendment: after clause 1, to insert the following new clause-- Quota-hopping --
(". This Act shall come into force only when each House of Parliament has come to a resolution on a motion tabled by a Minister of the Crown considering the legal protection for British fishermen afforded by the Treaty of Amsterdam on the issue of quota-hopping.")
I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.
The amendment would prevent the United Kingdom from ratifying the treaty of Amsterdam until such time as both Houses of Parliament had come to a resolution on a motion concerning the Amsterdam treaty and quota hopping. The Government cannot accept that amendment.
The House will recognise that, if the amendment were passed, it would delay ratification of the treaty of Amsterdam by the United Kingdom. Indeed, in the light of the Opposition's apparent willingness to rely on the voting rights of hereditary peers, it might delay it much longer than the House might initially suppose.
The House will also recognise that such delay would prevent British citizens from getting the benefits of the Amsterdam treaty provisions. It would prevent confirmation of the distinctive United Kingdom arrangements for border controls, now included in the treaty. It would prevent the important new provisions on foreign and defence policy from coming into being, which are highly advantageous to the United Kingdom; we believe that international co-operation on foreign policy is important, founded on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence capability. It would prevent important progress on environmental protection. It would prevent important progress on tackling unemployment through the European Union. Even if the amendment were passed, it would do nothing to help us to find a solution to the problems of the fishing industry.
Mr. William Cash (Stone):
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, in fact, the House of Lords has been extremely temperate--in my view, far too temperate--in its treatment of the Bill? It is a little on the thin side for us to have only one amendment as a result of all the consideration of the Bill in the House of Lords. Had the accusations that have been made against the House of Lords been justified, I should have expected--I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree--many more amendments. I regret the fact that there are not more.
as he did on "The World at One" on 14 April 1997. Instead, the right hon. Gentleman should have said, "We know there is no point holding that out as a hope to the fishing industry, because we have no intention of doing it." He must have known that he had no intention of doing it, because immediately after the election he did not do it.
The previous year, Lady Trumpington said in the other place:
"we have notified the IGC, the Commission and other member states that we shall be tabling proposals to deal with the problem of quota hopping . . . they will take the form of a protocol to the treaty".--[ Official Report, House of Lords , 17 June 1996; Vol. 573, c. 82.]
Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:--
The House divided: Ayes 330, Noes 134.
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