another attempt to change the clocks in the UK
peter at aldie.co.uk
Sat Jul 24 12:48:57 UTC 2004
Back on 9 June when I mentioned Nigel Beard's Lighter Evenings Bill I
> I haven't found the text of the Bill itself yet. It will probably
> turn up on the Parliament website next week.
It was finally published on Wednesday. PDF and HTML versions can be found at
It is a short Bill of only four sections. It changes the time for general
purposes to one hour in advance of GMT. It amends the Scotland Act 1998
to make time zones and summer time arrangements a devolved rather than
a reserved matter, which will allow the Scottish parliament to keep
Scotland on GMT if they so wish. It makes some amendments to the Summer
Time Act 1972 which I presume are to allow Northern Ireland, the Channel
Islands and the Isle of Man to do their own thing as well (I don't have
a copy of the 1972 Act handy to check this).
By pure coincidence a relative of mine works as a researcher for Nigel
Beard and has spent the last couple of months working on this. What
seems to have happened is that Nigel became convinced by the safety
arguments for change and decided to do something about it. At this
stage he didn't know about John Butterfill's `Extra Daylight' Bill or
Lord Archer's similar measure that he introduced during his doomed
campaign for London mayoral candidate. Finding all this out was left
to his researcher. She produced a briefing which Nigel's ten minute
rule speech was based on. In turn, she then passed the specification
for the proposed change on to the parliamentary draughtsmen, who
add the legalese so it will pass muster as a Bill.
The next stage is the Bill's second reading, which is set for 15 October.
This is where the first vote on the Bill will take place. If the vote
is lost that's it. If it passes the Bill goes to the next, committee,
If you look at the Public Bill List on the Parliament website
you will see that there are literally dozens of Bills down for second
reading on 15 October. The second reading is supposed to be the first
detailed consideration of a Bill. You can judge for yourselves what
sort of scrutiny each of these dozens of Bills will get.
My view remains that this Bill has almost no chance of becoming law.
Ten minute rule Bills come even further down the pecking order than
private members' Bills like John Butterfill's one, and his failed.
Bills like this only really stand a chance if they have government
support, as the government can give them parliamentary time. I have
spoken to someone at the DTI (the department now dealing with time
related stuff) and they told me that the government is not in favour
of this change, as it would be disruptive to business, transport and
tourism, particularly if the UK no longer used a single time zone.
Peter Ilieve peter at aldie.co.uk
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