Daylight Saving Bill ‘talked out’

12.50 | 25 January 2012 | | 1 comment

Campaigners hoping to get UK clocks moved forward by an hour all year round have accused a small group of MPs of talking a Private Member’s Bill out of time (Guardian).

The Government made it clear that it would find no extra time in the current parliament for the Daylight Saving Bill, despite ministers having backed the Conservative MP Rebecca Harris’s call for a review of the pros and cons.

The Bill had the support of more than 90 organisations and 120 MPs who all voted to pass the motion; just 10 attending MPs were against, but the session ran out of time before the motion could be passed.

David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, described the time wasting in the Commons as a ‘deliberate act of sabotage’ which ‘will cost lives’.

Supporters of the Bill claimed the time change would cut road deaths and energy use and would boost jobs and tourism.

Rebecca Harris told the Guardian the process had been “incredibly frustrating”, adding: “The clear will of the House was for the Bill to proceed. It had amazing cross-party support and amazing support out in the country. I had hoped there would be a ‘what’s not to like’ aspect of this, simply to ensure we had a really good quality review and something we could then have a debate on.”

If passed, the Bill would have commissioned a detailed study into the costs and benefits of moving the clocks forward to Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour in the winter (GMT +1) and GMT +2 in the summer, with a possible three-year trial.

Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of RoSPA, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that years of campaigning have been unwound so casually in this cynical and undemocratic way.

“It is outrageous that a proposal with so much support, and that has the potential to save lives, create jobs and cut carbon emissions, has effectively been wrecked by just two or three politicians.

“They should be ashamed that their contrived interventions have scuppered this opportunity to ease the suffering of many families in this country – the people whose lives they were elected to protect.”

Daniel Vockins, campaign manager for the Lighter Later campaign which is run by the climate change organisation 10:10, said: “Today’s result is yet another damning indictment of our broken Private Member’s Bill system.

“Even with over 120 MPs staying in Westminster to vote in favour of the Bill, the support of 90 national organisations, the UK Government, and strong public opinion polls, it’s not possible to get a Bill past a couple of MPs determined to talk it out of receiving a proper vote.”

Ed Davey, business minister, said: “While there are a number of possible arguments put forward over the years about changing our time zone, we have always stated that there needs to be consensus on the issue. We have seen today that we have not been able to reach consensus. The Government will now need to decide how it will take this issue forward in order to reach that consensus.”

Despite the setback, people can write to Sir George Young, leader of the house, to request more parliamentary time. Click here to do so.

Click here to read the full Guardian report.


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    It is a great pity that a detailed study has not been put in place as the issue does need to be sorted out once and for all. However, although it has always been blamed on us Scots for being against it; not all of us are, it now seems to have been taken on as an issue for some Euro-sceptics who are against anything that they see as EU policy creep.

    Bill Smith – Glasgow
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