HC Deb 09 December 1948 vol 459 cc536-8
16. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his intention to introduce legislation to amend the Acts relating to the operation of taxicabs in the light of the recent High Court judgment to the effect that taxicabs are not compelled to stop on being hailed when in motion.

18. Captain John Crowder

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider introducing legislation to amend the law regarding taxicabs which at present cannot be compelled to accept a fare unless they are stationary.

19. Mr. Norman Bower

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the recent decision of the Divisional Court in the case of Hunt v. Morgan, relating to the legal position of taxicabs plying for hire, and the intimation by the court that a change in the present law is desirable; and if he will introduce legislation for this purpose.

Mr. Ede

I am informed that in the Metropolitan Police district the police have always acted on the view of the law which has been established by the recent High Court decision. The question of amending and consolidating the statutes dealing with London cabs is one which I have noted for consideration at a convenient opportunity but, in the present state of Parliamentary business, I fear I can hold out no hope of early action.

Mr. Lewis

Is the House to understand from my right hon. Friend's reply that the police have always held the view that it is not necessary for a taxicab to stop when hailed? Is it not a fact that the police have prosecuted when taxicab drivers have not stopped when hailed? Does not my right hon. Friend agree that taxicab drivers and members of the public have always been under the impression that when a taxicab is hailed, it is necessary for the driver to stop?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. The view held by the Metropolitan Police has always been that which the Lord Chief Justice has recently confirmed.

Captain Crowder

Will the Home Secretary do something about this matter as soon as he can? I think he will agree that these regulations were made in the days of horse-drawn cabs, and the position is quite different today.

Mr. Ede

It is not a question of regulations. This is a question of law, and it would involve an amendment of the law. There are certain other things which can be amended by regulation, and I am in consultation with the trade with regard to that aspect of the matter.

Professor Savory

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware of the repeated complaints that unless one has the appearance of being an American a taxicab will not stop when hailed?

Mr. Ede

I have heard complaints of that nature. I have also heard complaints by Americans that the meters on taxicabs appear to be very unreliable when they are in them.