HC Deb 07 July 1922 vol 156 cc765-7

Bill reported.

Bill, as amended (on Re-committal), considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

Captain BENN

Are we to have some explanation of the changes which have taken place in Committee? I understand that the period has been changed and shortened. Both from the urban and rural (standpoint, it would be advisable that an explanation of the curtailment should be made.


Perhaps the Home Secretary will explain the actual meaning and effect of the words omitted on the Re-committal of the Bill.

2.0 p.m.


The words that have been left out on Re-committal represent a matter of sentiment. These words are usually put in, to ensure that the people of the Channel Islands are informed of any change in the law. As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth North (Sir B. Falle) has great interest in the Channel Islands, I was glad to meet him in the matter. With regard to the shortening of Summer Time, it is very slight, if you take as the standard the recommendation of the Departmental Committee in 1917, but not if you take as the standard the Summer Time adopted this year, which is abnormally long. The Summer Time this year was fixed by agreement with France. France went in for a very long period of Summer Time, so long, indeed, that there has been an almost complete revulsion of feeling in France in regard to Summer Time at all. Who had a great number of negotiations with France in order to try to synchronise the Summer Time of France and this country, for the purpose of cross-channel traffic and so on, and we agreed this year to a much longer period of Summer Time than was recommended by the Departmental Committee.

From the period of Summer Time adopted this year we have taken off about six weeks, but, compared with the recommendations of the Departmental Committee, we have only given the agricultural interest an additional seven days. The Committee in 1917 recommended that the period of Summer Time should be from the second Sunday in April to the third Sunday in September. The Bill fixes the period as from the third Sunday in April, the day after the third Saturday, to the third Sunday in September, the day after the third Saturday. Therefore the shortening of the period so far as the recommendations of the Departmental Committee are concerned is very slight. However, it helps the farmer, and it was agreed to on both sides in Committee upstairs, by those representing the urban districts and those representing the agricultural districts, as a fair compromise. It did not please either party, and therefore it was probably just. At any rate, they agreed to accept it and to allow the Bill to go through in the form in which it now stands.


I should like to know whether any steps have been taken by the Department to ascertain the views of the people of this country in relation to this Bill, now that we have had some experience of its working. Personally, I am in favour of the Summer Time Bill, but I was very surprised at a conference held in South Wales of the miners from the whole of the South Wales coalfield, at which this matter was discussed a fortnight ago, that we had a unanimous vote against the continuance of Summer Time. Every delegate who spoke, spoke strongly against it, and I have been wondering whether any representations have been made to the Home Secretary from the industrial workers who have to rise very early in the morning. There is a very strong feeling on the matter. I was surprised to find that there was so much feeling in the Welsh coalfield against the Bill.


I do not remember any representations from South Wales. We have had very few representations from urban and industrial areas with regard to summer time. We have had an overwhelming number of representations from industrial areas in favour of it. But at the same time, it was put to us that it might be perhaps necessary to have further inquiry, and we had a Committee appointed in 1917. They had not many years' experience to go on, it is true, but they finally recommended making Summer Time permanent. In order to meet the necessity which there may be for further inquiry, I myself moved an Amendment making this an annual Bill, and not a permanent Bill, so as to have it put into the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill of the year, and it can be raised every year if continued experience show that it is not desirable.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.