HC Deb 21 April 1955 vol 540 cc334-5
8. Mr. Hastings

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in the last year motorists charged by the Metropolitan Police with being under the influence of drink while in charge of a car requested a blood test; and on how many occasions the Metropolitan Police agreed to the request.

The Joint Under-Secretory of State for the Home Department (Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth)

None, Sir, but in one case samples of blood and urine were taken at the request of a doctor called on behalf of a person who had been arrested for such an offence.

Mr. Hastings

Does the Minister not agree that this test, which has been very largely used in other countries, might usefully be tried out in this country, so that some idea can be obtained of its real value? At present its value seems to be somewhat uncertain. Will the Minister take steps to make this test possible for those who apply for it?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Opinion about the value of blood tests in these cases is sharply divided, as the hon. Member knows, and it would be inappropriate for me to express views either way at the present time. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport told the House recently, research on the effects of alcohol upon driving performance is being carried out by the Medical Research Council and the Road Research Laboratory.

Mr. Stokes

Have not the police in fact chucked this bit of nonsense? Have they not found it absolutely unreliable, and is it not as likely as not that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) would prove as guilty as anybody else if he were tested in this manner?