HC Deb 09 November 1955 vol 545 cc1845-6
44. Captain Duncan

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now initiate legislation to make it illegal for persons other than the Diplomatic Corps to use C.D. plates on their motor cars.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. As these plates are neither officially recognised nor confer any special privileges, I do not think they do any harm when adorning non-diplomatic cars.

Captain Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend consult the Home Office and the Foreign Office to see whether these plates should not be given sonic legal status so that their misuse can be made an offence? This would help the police in their work.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am always ready to consult my right hon. Friends, but, from my point of view, there is no particular reason to give any privilege or priority in respect of this designation, and, while the plates have no privilege or priority, I think that the House would agree that there is no point in prohibiting them.

Mr. H. Morrison

It is surely well known—I am subject to correction—that members of the Diplomatic Corps, in respect of motor cars and in other respects, have certain privileges. Therefore, it is some convenience to the police and other parties to know that a car belongs to the Corps Diplomatique. Surely it is quite wrong, is it not, that other people should put these C.D. plates on their cars? I would urge upon the Minister the fact that it is an abuse for other people to do so—they are taking a liberty—and I urge the right hon. Gentleman to get the practice stopped.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is clearly an error of taste to sport one of these plates if one is not entitled to do so. But so long as—and this is not a matter for me —no particular privilege is conferred by them, I really do not think that it would be right to prohibit one further thing which does, in fact, no harm. It is necessary, for traffic purposes, to prohibit quite enough, and I do not want to add a burden to the police and others in enforcing prohibitions which have no real significance.

Mr. Morrison

Surely the letters "C.D." do confer a privilege. The police assume at once that there is a privilege conferred on members of the Diplomatic Corps, and, surely, that liberty ought not to be taken by people not entitled to do so? It is bad enough in respect of the Diplomatic Corps, but for the practice to extend to other people is still worse.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My information is that such privileges are not conferred. If the right hon. Gentleman takes a different view, I really think, with respect, that that is a matter which he ought to pursue with the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary. My information is that the police do not, in fact, grant any immunity if one sports a plate of this kind.