HC Deb 10 April 1962 vol 657 cc1153-294

4.2 p.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Road Traffic Act, 1960. The facts which have moved me to produce the Motion constitute a singular example of bumbledom at its most fatuous. Four ladies working for West-land Aircraft in Yeovil were in the habit of saving themselves about fifty minutes per working day by making an arrangement with a hire-car firm to take them to and from work. This very considerably helped them in the discharge of their family responsibilities. When news that these ladies had been so unwise as to consult their own personal convenience and comfort to this extent reached that strange shadowy underworld of bumbledom, the whole machine creaked into action. These ladies were trailed, stopped and warned, and the practice had to come to an end.

It is quite absurd that this extensive paraphernalia should be deployed to stop so small and innocent an occurrence. It is rather like the cook taking a pile driver to crack a peanut and then finding, as could happen, that the kitchen table breaks as well. Often enough such very minor breaches of the law, if they be breaches at all, are disregarded, though there are other cases—I will mention one of them only very briefly—where similar action has been taken.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk) is aware of one of them. His constituents, whose children had about two miles to travel to school, were accustomed to send their children by taxi—organised by and paid for by the parents. This practice was stopped, despite the fact that the bus company does not provide an adequate service to cater for their needs. The children would be obliged to walk the last 600 yards. This involves three dangerous crossings, so the parent? are obliged to take the children to school themselves.

I do not want today, of all days, to detain the House for very long, but I suggest that organisation can be carried too far to a point where it reaches a tiresome surfeit. This point has been reached in this case, in my view.

My Bill would be a very modest and brief one. It would have the extraordinarily old-fashioned merit of being easily intelligible. If the Ministry of Transport, in its wisdom, would prefer to give me the principle of the Bill and follow its own hallowed practice of making legislation incomprehensible, this is a point on which I would personally be prepared to compromise.

I conclude my short speech to the House by suggesting that those who seek to make a living out of the public—I care not whether they be employers or employed—should have as their first aim the service of the public and should at all times avoid bullying. It seems to me that there has been bullying in this case.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Peyton, Mr. Birch, Mr. du Cann, Mr. Eden, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Hale, Sir A. Hurd, Mr. Holt, Mr. Kirk, Commander Maydon, Sir C. Mott-Radolyffe, and Sir G. Wills.

  1. ROAD TRAFFIC ACT, 1960 (AMENDMENT) 31 words
    1. c1155
    2. WAYS AND MEANS 12 words
      1. c1155
      2. AMENDMENT OF THE LAW 84 words
  4. cc1274-86
  6. cc1287-94