asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further discussions he has had with interested parties in the United Kingdom concerning EEC proposals that summer time should be restricted in order to promote energy conservation; and if he will make a statement.
The Commission's proposal is not that summer time should be restricted but that it should be introduced in those member States which do not have it, and that the dates of summer time should be harmonised by mutual agreement. Primary responsibility for a summer-time arrangement in the United Kingdom rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who will be considering, with others concerned, whether the EEC discussions give rise to a need for consultations.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that any tampering with our present summer-time arrangements would give rise to widespread resentment? Can he therefore indicate whether, in his judgment, there is very much substance in the argument that an alteration in any way of the summer-time arrangements could conserve energy?
I have pointed out that we shall be talking about mutual arrangements. Clearly the experience of the United Kingdom would come into any negotiations or discussions on the matter. Other aspects, such as those involving transport, are matters for the Ministers concerned.
Will my hon. Friend inform the Secretary of State that we have had enough of this mucking about with our summer time? We had the experience under the last Labour Government when someone took a Bill out of a pigeon hole and a new arrangement for summer time was foisted on us. Do not let us have any such nonsense again. Let us remain precisely where we are.
I am aware of my hon. Friend's views. No doubt he is referring to the use of British Standard Time. I think the whole House agrees that the disadvantages were found to be greater than the advantages.