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Daylight Saving Bill

Volume 539: debated on Thursday 2 February 2012

May I first pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris) for her excellent work on her private Member’s Bill? As the House knows, the Government supported the Bill, as amended in Committee. Unfortunately, and as the Leader of the House made clear last week, there is no way the Bill could complete its passage through both Houses in this Session, but it could be taken forwards by a private Member’s Bill in a future Session. The Government would not, however, expect to introduce any trial of daylight saving time if there was clear opposition in any part of the UK.

In the Western Morning News, the Secretary of State is reported as saying that he is disappointed that the Bill was killed by a handful of Back Benchers who could not see the light, and that he did not rule out Ministers—I repeat, Ministers—finding more time. If the Government are genuinely committed to this measure, as they say they are, and if it is not just warm words and they really want it to happen, will they commit to bring forward a Bill of their own in this Session or the next?

The Leader of the House explained the problems of doing so in this Session and was equally clear that we would welcome a private Member’s Bill in the next Session. This Government have worked harder on this issue than the last one did, and we have made more progress. I would hope for emerging consensus in the House because this Government are making real efforts.

The Minister seems to be trying to face two ways at once. It is quite clear that time could have been made. We have a general debate later today and the time for it could quite easily have been devoted to private Members’ Bills. I doubt whether today’s business will run the full course. Come on, let’s put this Bill back on and let Parliament decide.

I know my hon. Friend is a huge supporter of the Bill, but the Leader of the House has made clear the problems of getting it through both Houses during this Session, and I am certainly not one to challenge his judgment.