The recent clashes in the Channel between UK and French fishing vessels over scallop grounds…
NFFO Lobby Day in Parliament
The Federation recently held a lobby day in Parliament to ensure that fishing remains a priority issue for the Government as the UK approaches key stages in the UK/EU withdrawal negotiations. During the event, which took place in a Committee Room 10 in the Palace of Westminster, a team of ten NFFO port representatives briefed MPs and Lords on all aspects of the UK’s withdrawal, as they impact on their particular region or sector.
- Approximately 45 parliamentarians and researchers attended the event with representation from all political parties (excluding the SNP). We had a number of prominent MPs and Peers there. Dexeu minister, Steve Baker, who agreed to speak is very influential in the Conservative Government. Holly Lynch, Shadow Minister for Flooding and Coastal Communities is also influential amongst the Labour front bench. Neil Parish, Chair of the EFRA Select Committee was a key parliamentarian who attended, as well as Lord Grantchester, the shadow front bench lead in the House of Lords for Environment and Rural Affairs.
- Political representatives from Northern Ireland were particularly well represented, with both DUP and Sein Fein attending in numbers
- We’ve had a number of commitments from parliamentarians, with over 30 parliamentarians signing our pledge board. There were also a number of MPs who agreed to write to the Secretary of State in support of the fishing industry. Nine MPs have currently signed the EDM tabled by Ben Lake. More are expected to sign.
- We placed a comment piece in Red Box on the morning of the event (which is very influential and widely read by ministers, MPs and advisers in Westminster)
- The NFFO was interviewed for Farming Today which went out on the morning of the event (influential in the sector, DEFRA)
- Chris Hope, Chief Political Correspondent, Telegraph – a prominent member of the Westminster lobby was in attendance at the lobby day.
- Mark D’Arcy, Parliamentary Correspondent, BBC Today in Parliament was also at the event – an institution of Parliament, and his show is listened to by most MPs and Peers
- Camilla Tominey, Political Editor, Sunday Express was at the event - who has covered NFFO issues before, and very keen to get stories from the Federation going forward
- Lisa O’Carrol, Brexit Correspondent was also in attendance and has written her piece in The Guardian – which is good for covering the Labour Party and its membership across the country
The Federation had private meetings with:
- Steve Baker, Brexit Minister
- Holly Lynch, Shadow Minister for Flooding and Coastal Communities and Labour Friends of Fishing MPs Luke Pollard and Melanie Onn
- Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat lead on Fishing
- Future meetings have been set up with:
- Jenny Chapman, Shadow Brexit Minister
- Michael Gove, Secretary of State, DEFRA
The lobby day has been judged a great success by all those who participated, and the Federation plans further events through the summer and autumn to remind the government that fishing is indeed a totemic issue for Brexit.