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Carmichael: ‘Government fishing bill has sunk without trace’

Alistair Carmichael MP.

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has challenged the Scottish secretary on the government’s continued failure to make progress with the Fisheries Bill.

The Bill completed its last stage on December 17 last year, and, according to Mr Carmichael, the government have refused to bring it forward to the next stage since.

Until the bill is complete, fishermen will have no indication of what the post-Brexit fishing framework will be.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Carmichael asked: “Last time I asked the secretary of state about the fisheries bill he deflected the question, saying ‘we shall see what happens when the bill returns on report’. That was on the 16th January, five months ago. We still have not had the fisheries bill on report. When are we going to get it?”

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Rt. Hon. David Mundell MP, secretary of state for Scotland, said: “I am sure the Rt. Hon. Member will not be surprised to hear me say: ‘In due course’”

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said: “I may not have been surprised by the Minister’s answer, but I was disappointed. Fishermen were promised a sea of opportunities if we left the EU, taking back control of our waters and an opportunity to deliver better management of our sector. The Government’s Fishing Bill has sunk without a trace. The industry needs, and deserves clarity about what comes next, but six months on from when it completed its last stage, we are no further forward.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that splits within the Conservative Government are a barrier to delivering those promises. The Government’s delays are not good enough, and our fishing communities deserve better.”

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