HC Deb 18 April 1973 vol 855 cc489-90
28. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the EEC draft directive which proposes to raise the age for a driving licence from 17 to 18 years; and what view he has expressed to the Commission about it.

Mr. Peyton

I have considerable sympathy with the reservations which have been expressed in this country since the publication of the draft directive. I intend to express these in Brussels at the appropriate time.

Mr. Marten

I am glad to hear my right hon. Friend's reply. Will he make it absolutely clear that this Parliament— this sovereign Parliament—will not tolerate this fussy interference in our way of life? The raising of the driving age from 17 to 18 years is not a negotiable matter, and that is that.

Mr. Peyton

My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) has his own way of making his views clear, and does not need me to comment upon them.

Mr. Mulley

Will the Minister ensure that the English texts of this draft directive are made available? Is he aware that, while there are grave objections to this particular proposal, there are many other proposals in the so-called draft directive to which one can also take objection, and that probably the only thing one can commend is the suggestion that we should lower the age for driving motor cycles, back to the age which obtained before the Minister changed the situation a year ago?

Mr. Peyton

I have already said that I have considerable reservations, or that I share the reservations which have been expressed in this country, on this directive. I am not quite sure whether my powers extend to the immediate provision of a copy in English of the draft directive, but I shall look into the situation.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, while that particular topic is being discussed, the question of lowering the age at which people may drive a bus from 21 to 18, to make sure that we have some bus drivers in London, should also be discussed?

Mr. Peyton

That is an exceedingly interesting proposition, but it does not arise out of this Question.