HC Deb 03 July 1963 vol 680 cc380-1
64. Mr. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that in some courts motorists' licences are being endorsed in respect of offences taking place before 31st May; and, as this is contrary to assurances that were given at the time the new legislation was passed, what steps he is taking to remove the possibility of retrospective action in this regard.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I presume that the hon. Member has in mind the operative date for Sections 5 to 9 of the Road Traffic Act, 1962, which is 29th May. Even before that date the courts could order endorsement for most of the offences listed in Parts I and II of the First Schedule of the 1962 Act. I am not aware of the assurances the hon. Member has in mind. Endorsement of the licence is required for operating the provisions of Section 5(3) of the 1962 Act with regard to disqualification and in this connection I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friends Answer to a Question from the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) on 19th June.

Mr. Fletcher

Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate that there were certain offences which did not rank for disqualification which took place before 29th May? Is it not very undesirable, in view of certain assurances, that these offences should now rank for disqualification merely because they happen to come to court after 29th May?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I do not agree. The only Amendment on this subject moved during the Committee stage of the Bill was by my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), who wished to make it even more retrospective. I think that the position is widely understood by the public and we do not consider that any material injustice will be done.

Mr. Strauss

Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate that there is a great sense of injustice among people who committed an offence perhaps six months before 29th May, speeding or something of the sort, and who were then convicted after 29th May and were so probably caught in the three-year period leading to suspension of the driving licence? Is he aware that this point was overlooked by both sides during the Committee stage of the Bill and that it is a serious injustice? Will he consider bringing in legislation to remedy it?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I cannot give any such undertaking, but I must point out that, although I have heard it suggested that this point was overlooked, the fact remains that my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby put down an Amendment in the opposite sense, so that it must have been in the minds of members of the Committee.