Iain Duncan Smith seeks Government statement on seized Northern Ireland fishing boats

28th February 2019

Iain Duncan Smith calls for a Government statement on the seizure of two UK fishing vessels by the Republic of Ireland.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I rise to seek your advice because I saw today in the news that two British fishing boats registered in Northern Ireland, and their crews, have been seized by the Irish Government, escorted to an Irish port, and arrested without a huge amount of justification. I would have assumed that the Government would want to come to the House to make a statement, and I wished to ask whether you are aware that the Government have called for such a statement. If that is not the case, if there is the demand or desire for an urgent question, what is the earliest that one can be requested from the Speaker?

I will first reply to that point of order. It may be that my answer is helpful to the hon. Gentleman.

I thank the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith) for his point of order and for notice of it. I have received no indication that the Government intend to make a statement this afternoon. The earliest opportunity to ask the Speaker to grant an urgent question would be on Monday because the House is not sitting tomorrow. I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the right hon. Gentleman’s deep concern about this matter, and that they will feed it back to the relevant Department for the Secretary of State to consider whether a statement would be appropriate.

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