HC Deb 22 July 1982 vol 28 cc627-48

10 pm

The Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

I beg to move, That the draft Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1982, which were laid before this House on 13th July, be approved. About a year ago the House gave, on a free vote, its clear support to the principle that seat belts should have to be worn by law. Tonight we are not debating that principle. We are debating the draft regulations that the Government have drawn up as a result of the undertaking to put Parliament's decision into practice. Our underlying aim has been to ensure that the law is as fair and straightforward to enforce as possible. I hope that hon. Members will bear these points in mind during tonight's debate.

It is important to remind ourselves that in 1980 more than 2,000 front seat occupants of cars and light vans were killed in road accidents and some 28,500 were seriously injured. While it is not possible to estimate precisely what effect compulsory seat belt wearing will have, there is no doubt that belt wearers fare much better than nonwearers—their fatality rate is about half that of non-wearers and their chances of serious injury are similarly reduced.

I know that some hon. Members are concerned about the time that has elapsed since the powers to introduce compulsory wearing were given in the Transport Act 1981. However, I believe that it is vital, on an issue of this sort, to get things right. I am sure that the many hon. Members who wish to see compulsory seat belt wearing introduced as soon as possible will realise the importance of this if the law is not to fall into disrepute. This would only negate our efforts to save lives and prevent as many serious injuries as possible from occuring on our roads.

As set out in the preamble, in accordance with the terms of the 1981 Act we laid a statement of proposals for implementing compulsion before both Houses on 8 December 1981. This was widely circulated to interested organisations and to the public. Three months then had to elapse before the regulations could be laid, and during this time we received a number of helpful comments on the proposals. I assure the House that all the views that we received were carefully considered before the regulations were drafted.

It is not only the House that must approve the draft regulations but also the other place, where I understand that the debate will be held at the end of next week. We hope that this will mean that the regulations can come into operation in January rather than in March. This obviously will be of great importance in reducing casualties, which run at about 38 deaths a week and 548 seriously injured.

Of the draft regulations before us, regulation 1 gives the commencement date, regulations 2 and 3 are mainly technical, regulation 4 introduces the requirement to wear seat belts, regulation 5 specifies the exemptions, regulation 6 specifies the types of vehicles covered, and regulation 7 deals with the types of seat belt required.

Regulation 1 gives the commencement date as the twenty-third Monday after the regulations are made. A Monday has been chosen on the advice of the police as the most suitable day to introduce a requirement of this kind which will affect most motorists. Although this is an unusually long period, it has not been made without good cause. Once the regulations have been made we must allow time for the printing and distribution of the forms for medical exemption certificates to doctors. During this time we will begin our publicity, advising people in leaflets about the new law and how to obtain medical exemption if necessary. There must then be time for people to apply to their doctors. As the House may know, we are taking powers in the Transport Bill now before another place to enable us to provide examinations for certain people who are on low incomes or disabled. The plan is to provide these through the DHSS, and hon. Members will, I am sure, appreciate that we must allow sufficient time for these applications to be made and for doctors to consider them.

Regulations 2 and 3 are mainly technical provisions containing the citation and definition of terms used in the regulations. However, I must draw attention to regulation 3(2), which is designed to pick up future amendments to the existing legislation to which the regulations refer. I do so because I understand that the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments described regulation 3(2) as making an unusual use of the powers of the enabling legislation. The sole reason for this arrangement is that regulation 3(2) ensures that regulations will be automatically aligned with minor changes in the relevant legislation so that they do not become incomplete or otherwise defective. The most important link is with the Construction and Use Regulations which deal with the compulsory fitting of seat belts. But I stress that, given the background to the emotive issue of compulsory seat belt wearing, with the many attempts over the last decade to approve specific powers, the Government consider that it would be utterly improper for any Government to bring in a substantial change to the wearing requirement by means of this link.

Regulation 4 contains the requirement to wear a seat belt when driving a vehicle or when riding either in the specified passenger seat, which is normally the front nearside passenger seat, or in the middle front seat if the specified passenger seat is not occupied.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)

Will the hon. Lady confirm that the effect of regulation 3 is that an instrument passed by the negative procedure could alter this instrument, which is an affirmative instrument? Would not that be an unusual procedure?

Mrs. Chalker

As I said, it would be utterly improper for any Government to behave in that way. The only point of proceeding in the manner that I have described is so that when there is a minor change in the Construction and Use Regulations, which govern the fitting of seat belts and anchorages for seat belts, these regulations should not become defective. But obviously the change to any amending regulations would also be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Regulation 5 lists the categories of exemption. Not surprisingly, this is the question which arouses the most concern. As I said at the beginning of my speech, we have tried to make the law as fair and as enforceable as possible. We therefore only included categories of exemption which seemed very compelling while being consistent with our aim to keep them to a minimum.

Regulations 5(a), (b) and (d) set out those categories already given in the 1981 Act, namely, users of vehicles constructed or adapted for the delivery of goods while on local rounds; drivers carrying out a manoeuvre which includes reversing; and holders of medical exemption certificates.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

Plus £19.

Mrs. Chalker

I shall deal with my hon. Friend's intervention in a moment.

As indicated in my right hon. Friend's statement of proposals, we have extended the first category on local delivery rounds to those on local rounds of collection, for, as I am sure the House will agree, it would be nonsense to exempt one and not the other. Indeed, in many instances, such as laundry rounds, the same person is both collecting and delivering.

We have also extended the second category—vehicles while reversing—to include in regulation 5(c) drivers supervising learners so that they can properly carry out their responsibility and check the road behind their vehicles. This was at the request of the National Joint Council of Approved Driving Instructor Organisations.

As indicated in our statement of proposals, regulations 5(e), (f) and (g) exempt the emergency services, but only in the specific and limited circumstances where this is necessary. They have not been given, nor indeed have they sought, carte blanche. If necessary, they will have to justify to a court their decision not to wear a belt as indeed they already have to, if, when they use their discretion under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 to ignore traffic sign directions, an accident occurs.

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

Is my hon. Friend seriously suggesting that police officers may take to court driving examiners or those who are instructing drivers because they are not wearing seat belts at any stage of their teaching? Does my hon. Friend think that that law is even remotely enforceable without causing enormous anger between the police and the public?

Mrs. Chalker

I have not yet come to the point that my hon. and learned Friend raises. I am certain that the police will use their common sense. When my hon. and learned Friend intervened, I was talking about the operation of the emergency services and the fact that drivers of emergency vehicles sometimes have to jump a red light to get to the aid of citizens. In the event of a collision they are sometimes asked to justify that action. We shall not be departing from that procedure. It is unlikely that they will ever have to justify such a procedure except perhaps in the case of insurance claims. The provision must therefore sensibly be made to stay in line with the present law.

Following the consultation period, it became clear that there were other cases where exemptions were justifiable. The representatives of the taxi drivers and private hire car drivers made the case that their members were particularly vulnerable to attack when going about their work and that they could be made more vulnerable by having to wear a seat belt. I accept that, sadly, that is a valid argument. I have therefore allowed an exemption for taxi drivers when plying for hire or carrying a passenger, and for private hire car drivers when carrying a passenger. That is set out in regulation 5(h). Bearing in mind the need for enforceable legislation, only vehicles displaying the relevant licence plates will fall within the scope of that exemption.

Mr. Kenneth Marks (Manchester, Gorton)

Can it be made clear that front seat passengers in car hire vehicles must wear seat belts?

Mrs. Chalker

That is right. Front seat passengers of car hire vehicles must wear a belt. They are covered by the generality of the regulation. They are not covered by the exemptions under regulation 5(h). I have also looked again at the question of drivers accompanying learner drivers, which was the point raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). We decided that there could be a danger to driving examiners, driving test candidates and indeed to other people if examiners had to wear their belts at all times. That is because driving examiners must not intervene in a test until the last possible moment, so that the candidate has had every chance to correct a fault or to deal with a problem himself. Once the examiner has intervened the candidate has failed.

We have therefore provided a limited exemption in regulation 5(i) and, like the emergency services, examiners may have to defend their decision in court. However, we have not found it possible to extend that exemption to driving instructors and others accompanying learner drivers, as they are required by law to supervise the learners so that they do not cause danger to other road users. Indeed, the national joint council did not seek exemption, and one of the council's founder members, the British School of Motoring, requires its instructors and pupils to wear their belts.

Mr. Lawrence

Is my hon. Friend aware that the British School of Motoring is not a driving school in the sense of directly employing driving instructors, but a car hire firm, which, like Kentucky Fried Chicken, franchises out to sub-contractors? Is she further aware that there has been no consultation between the BSM and most of those sub-contracting driving instructors?

Mrs. Chalker

I should answer those questions at the end of the debate, because otherwise other hon. Members will not be able to intervene.

Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)


Mrs. Chalker

I know that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton represents the driving examiners organisation, which is an independent body with about 500 members. I have sought to discover the wider experience of other driving examiners. I have found out that the BSM not only advises but states that anyone who fails to comply with the directive to wear a seat belt and to get the learner to wear one will run the risk of being dismissed. Just as other organisations have told us, the BSM has told many people that it is entirely right to wear and to encourage the wearing of a seat belt.

Regulation 5(j) provides an exemption when a belt cannot be used either because it is defective or because—if it is of the inertia reel type—the mechanism has temporarly locked because the vehicle is, or has been, on a steep incline. It does not by any means provide a loophole in the regulations for the minority who do not wish to wear seat belts. It would be unreasonable to require someone, especially a passenger, to wear a seat belt when it is defective and cannot be worn.

It will still be an offence to drive a vehicle with defective belts, but we shall amend the Construction and Use Regulations so that a person cannot be prosecuted for having a defective belt if it has only become faulty on that journey, or if steps have already been taken to have the fault rectified.

The second part of the exemption applies only for that short time at the start of a journey on a hill when the belt cannot be unreeled. However, the exemption applies only until such time as the vehicle has moved and the belt is once again free to unreel, when it must be put on. I am sure that hon. Members will agree that that is a sensible approach for a circumstance that occasionally arises.

In regulation 5(k) we have proposed a limited exemption for motor mechanics. On occasions we appreciate that mechanics may need to carry out adjustments or diagnoses as front seat passengers. Wearing a seat belt could prevent that, as the work might involve lying on the floor of the car, under the dashboard, as the car is driven along. [Interruption.] However, so that the exemption can be enforced, it will apply only when a vehicle is being used with trade plates. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friends will not be lying on the floor as they move along, trying to kid me that they are carrying out adjustments.

Obviously, I realise that some people will be disappointed that additional suggestions for exemption have not been accepted. As I have said before, it is important that exemption should be kept to the minimum if the law is to be enforceable.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Where is the exemption for the Armed Forces? If my hon. Friend had been outside the House at 10.30 this morning she would have seen three armoured cars parked in Bridge Street whose occupants, as usual, had to have their heads and half their bodies out of the top. Where is there an exemption for members of the Armed Forces who cannot possibly wear seat belts in their vehicles?

Mrs. Chalker

I believe that I am right to say—although I shall check—that if Armed Forces vehicles, such as emergency vehicles, are on specialised duties, they are covered by the emergency provisions that I have described. However, I shall, by leave of the House, return to that point at the end of the debate, because it is a detailed matter.

Sir Walter Clegg (North Fylde)


Mr. Tim Renton (Mid-Sussex)


Mrs. Chalker

I want the law to be effective. I know that there are strong feelings about it. Indeed, I would not expect otherwise after the numerous debates on this issue. I want to ensure that we successfully introduce the measure for which Parliament has voted.

Regulation 6 lists the vehicles in which seat belts must be worn.

Mr. Renton

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mrs. Chalker

I have been speaking already for 19 minutes and I must get on.

Broadly, the vehicles listed in regulation 6 are those in which belts are already compulsorily fitted—that is, cars registered since 1 January 1965, light vans registered since 1 April 1967 and three-wheelers first used on or after 1 September 1980. However, seat belts must also be worn if they are fitted to various classes of vehicles which are outside the requirement to fit belts. These include, for example, foreign visitors. Regulation 7 simply describes the type of seat belt which must be worn.

I have concentrated on exemptions, as they should be the main focus of attention. I shall sit down now because many hon. Members will want to ask questions about the regulations and shall seek to answer them. I believe that the regulations are the best way of implementing Parliament's clearly stated wishes in favour of compulsory seat belt wearing and, accordingly, I commend them to the House.

10.21 pm
Mr. Roger Stott (Westhoughton)

I speak from the Opposition Dispatch Box as an individual and not as the official spokesman for my party. This issue does not follow traditional party lines. It must be decided by the House of Commons as a whole. For those of us who have been striving to secure the compulsory wearing of seat belts, the wheels of democracy appear to have been grinding frustratingly slowly. Tonight we are nearer than at any time in history to achieving what has been overwhelmingly the view of the House ever since the subject was first debated. That we are debating the regulations tonight, albeit one year on from when the principle was first established, is in no small part due to the personal commitment of the Under-Secretary of State for Transport. Her determination and commitment to bringing the issue to a speedy fruition deserves the thanks of all who share her view.

Before the passage of the Transport Act 1981, eight attempts were made, dating back to 1973, to introduce compulsion in the wearing of seat belts. If one reads the debates, as I have done regularly, one can see that hon. Members on both sides of the House have adduced evidence to support compulsion from the most reputable sources—the Patronage Secretary take note. I make no apology for repeating the evidence that has led me and the overwhelming body of opinion in the House to support the compulsory use of seat belts.

I have been influenced by the people who have to deal first hand at the sharp end with the problem—members of the medical profession. They have to deal with the broken bodies that are the regrettable result of automobile accidents.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

Order. The time for debate is short. The hon. Gentleman should concentrate on the regulations and not again debate the principle.

Mr. Stott

I fully appreciate that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was merely stating why the vast majority of lion. Members reached this conclusion. It would not go amiss to restate the reasons for the record.

The vast majority of medical opinion is in favour of the compulsory wearing of seat belts, including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. I shall not try your patience, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in going through the formidable list of the others who support the principle.

Most of the time of orthopaedic surgeons is spent in dealing with road accidents. They should be allowed to do their proper job of performing essential hip operations.

Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are the hon. Gentleman's remarks relevant to the discussion?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must relate his remarks to the regulations.

Mr. Stott

In no way do I wish to incur your wrath, Mr. Deputy Speaker, or that of the House. I am endeavouring to support the regulations. I wish to restate for the record the necessity for them.

Whether we are debating the principle or the regulations, the House has a responsibility to the taxpayer, who pays millions of pounds to a National Health Service that has to perform operations on people injured in road traffic accidents. The regulations are to prevent such injuries. The House has a duty to face its responsibility. We cannot dismiss the arguments in debating the regulations. As long as I remain in order, I make no excuse for putting them forward.

The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) has frequently stated that the regulations are not necessary. If he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, he may tonight pray in aid academic evidence submitted by Dr. Adams in his occasional paper. The last time that we debated the principle I was disingenuous in dealing with Dr. Adams. I apologise to him. My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. Sheerman) said in the debate that in a democracy we should allow people like Dr. Adams to tilt at windmills. But I do not believe that Dr. Adams's view is sensible. He has not reached his conclusions for the right reasons. Under the leadership of Dr. Mary McKay an exercise undertaken by the University of Birmingham has produced arguments that conclusively rebut what Dr. Adams advances.

If Sir Ronald Bell had been here today, he would have used arguments against the regulations to suggest that they are an infringement of individual liberty. He used such arguments on many occasions. Those who object to the regulations have a right to do so, but I do not believe that the regulations are an infringement of personal liberty. They are sensible regulations that go a long way to meeting a criterion that has long been advanced by many people in Britain—the saving of lives. If the House can do anything to save lives, it should do so and issues such as this should be treated seriously. The regulations will save lives.

We do not have many opportunities in the House to enact legislation that will, on all the available evidence, demonstrably and conclusively save lives and reduce severe injuries. That being the case, the minor infringement of personal liberty, if there is any infringement, is worth it if it ensures that the regulations are accepted by the House. I hope that, if the House decides to divide, those Members of Parliament who have fought for this issue since 1973 will join the Under-Secretary and me in the Lobby to enshrine in legislation the compulsory wearing of seat belts, because it is a good piece of legislation.

10.31 pm
Mr. Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)

We are limited to a discussion of the regulations tonight; we are not discussing the Act. The regulations are the means of implementing section 27 of the Transport Act 1981. One is therefore entitled to say that it is sad that the House should be approving the regulations because it is sad that we should be implementing section 27 of the Act. Section 27 carries the limits of the criminal law beyond the point that they should be carried.

The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Stott) said that the imposition of the wearing of seat belts was a minimal interference with the freedom of the individual. Although I happily wear a seat belt and encourage others in cars to wear them, so long as there are people who genuinely believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are safer when they are not wearing seat belts, I believe that they should have that freedom of choice and that the criminal law should not attempt to impose their wearing on them. We know of people who have been involved in accidents—perhaps a minority of accidents—who have been saved by the fact that they were not wearing seat belts. While there are people who have such feelings, there should be freedom of choice.

Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)


Mr. Carlisle

I cannot give way because I know that my hon. Friend disagrees with me. I accept that the argument is over and that those of us who take that view have unfortunately failed to persuade the House.

Therefore, I turn to the regulations. With great respect to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, I believe that the regulations are slightly nonsensical. I wish her to answer certain questions about them.

It is extraordinary that regulations should come into operation on the twenty-third Monday after they are made. We are told that that is suitable because the police believe that the first working day of a week is the best day to commence regulations, but why commence them on 13 December 1982? Why not introduce the regulations on 1 January 1983? That would be clearer for people. [Interruption.] I am trying to show the absurdity of some of the regulations.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is not doing very well.

Mr. Carlisle

I have not started yet.

It is intended to exempt those who are doing local deliveries, but only if they use a vehicle constructed or adapted for the delivery … of goods or mail". The postman carrying post in a Royal Mail vehicle will not have to wear a seat belt, but the local newsagent in my village, who delivers newspapers door to door in his own car, will have to wear a seat belt. It is a nonsensical difference between two people doing a similar job.

Dr. M. S. Miller (East Kilbride)

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman prefer to have no exemptions to the wearing of seat belts?

Mr. Carlisle

No. I should prefer to have no law on this issue. The decision should be left to individuals. However, since there are to be exemptions, I ask why we should exempt the driver of a vehicle that is adapted for local deliveries, but not exempt someone who uses his own car for the same purpose. It is an absurd difference.

Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield, East)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is a barrister. If he looks carefully at the regulations, he will find that door-to-door deliveries are covered. Both the examples that he has given will be covered.

Mr. Carlisle

Exemption will be allowed only to the driver of a vehicle that is constructed or adapted for local deliveries. A person who drives his own car for that purpose will not be exempted.

The regulations also refer to exempting those who are driving the vehicle whilst performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing". What does that mean? What is "a manoeuvre"? I understand that it is a plan or strategem that includes motion. If I get into my car for the purpose of parking it, I am presumably performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing". But if I get into my car in Cheshire, with the intention of parking it in London—without stopping on the way—am I throughout my journey from Cheshire performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing"? If so, am I entitled to exemption? I should be glad to know. One day the regulations will have to be discussed and considered by the courts. What is "a manoeuvre"? When does it start? When does it end?

What is the difference between the driver of a private hire vehicle, who will not have to wear a seat belt, and a chauffeur on a permanent basis of employment, who will have to wear a seat belt?

Mr. Jessel

The driver of a private hire vehicle is more likely to be attacked.

Mr. Carlisle

I am told that the driver of a private hire vehicle does not have to wear a seat belt because he is likely to be attacked. I can think of many drivers of private hire vehicles who are as safe from attack as any other driver.

The point is that once exemptions are allowed there will be serious legal arguments over their interpretation. In my opinion, it would have been better never to have had these regulations—nor, indeed, section 27 of the Transport Act 1981. I hope that my hon. Friend will think again, and not introduce new regulations which come into operation on the twenty-third Monday after they are made, but regulations that come into operation on the twenty-third year after they are made.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. Has the right hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle) finished his speech?

Mr. Carlisle


10.40 pm
Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)

I shall be extremely brief. I want to refer to the instrument. As the Minister said, we are dealing not with the principle but with the regulations. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, which is appointed by the House to examine instruments for legal flaws, ambiguities and unusual use of powers, and so on, has examined this instrument and drawn the House's attention to the instrument because it feels that there is an unusual use of powers.

I do not wish to argue about the instrument, but it is important to draw attention to this matter, because, although many of my hon. Friends are extremely enthusiastic about the principle, they should remember that the effect of the instrument would invoke their strong hostility if, for example, the same method were invoked to extend the Employment Bill and regulations made under that legislation which they do not support.

The Committee asked the Department for comments. We had legal advice, too. We decided to report on the basis that regulation 3, which the Minister described as technical, allows existing other regulations to amend this regulation, as is the normal practice, following the introduction of the interpretation Act 1978, and also allows future subordinate legislation to amend this instrument. We say in our report: A formula which provides that references in the Regulations to other enactments cover future amendments to those enactments requires Parliament, in cases where the instrument in which the formula is contained is an affirmative one, to sign a blank cheque". There is another aspect. Although we are dealing with an affirmative instrument here, the nature of the instrument and the relationship that allows alterations introduced by other instruments to alter this one, allows instruments by the negative procedure to alter an affirmative one. That is important, because the affirmative procedure is invoked when matters are of particular concern or controversy to the House. We know full well that the negative procedure is more honoured in the breach than otherwise. Many instruments go through the House on the negative procedure without so much as a prayer being laid, and it is regarded as a somewhat unsatisfactory procedure. Even when a prayer is laid, time has to be given for the debate, and normally time is not given, unless and until the main Opposition party puts down a prayer. In other words, by a procedure which is very much a back-door procedure, this instrument, which is treated as important and controversial by the House through an affirmative procedure, can be altered.

Mr. Nicholas Baker

As a member of the Committee, I can say that the hon. Gentleman's points are valid. Will he ram home the point that, by a change in the reference in subordinate legislation, there might be a technical change but there might also be a substantive change? That is the point.

Mr. Cryer

The instrument refers to the Construction and Use Regulations as showing the classes of persons subject to the compulsory wearing of seat belts. If the Construction and Use Regulations are altered by negative procedure, the whole class of persons that are subject to that compulsion will thereby be altered.

The Minister said that it would be utterly improper to alter the regulations by that method—by, say, altering a negative annulment procedure regulation or by introducing a negative procedure. We are dealing with the instrument as we find it now. While the Minister may say that it would be utterly improper, the fact is that powers are there. Ministers are not permanent; they change. Although a comment may be invoked m debate, Ministers' words do not form legislation—primary legislation and instruments do.

Mr. Terence Higgins (Worthing)

The Committee has obviously given great attention to the matter. The hon. Gentleman just said that a change in the Construction and Use Regulations could alter the category of people covered by the regulations. Will he explain how?

Mr. Cryer

Yes. The categories of persons driving a motor vehicle who require seat belts are stipulated in the Construction and Use Regulations. If the right hon. Gentleman looks through the instrument he will find that that is the case. Therefore, if the Construction and Use Regulations alter the classes of vehicles, the amendment would automatically be picked up by virtue of paragraph 3(2) of the regulations. That is the basis of the Committee's concern. I draw this important matter to the attention of the House.

We asked the Committee for an example of such a similar procedure. It was unable to provide one, although we note that in the report it is understood that the precedent in mind was regulation 2(4) of the Goods Vehicles (Operators' Licences) Regulations 1977. However, that provision appears to cover only existing amendments.

The Committee wants to draw the attention of the House to this matter. It is not concerned with the merits of the legislation. The Committee was appointed by the House to deal with the application of the legislation and that it has done.

10.47 pm
Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)

At long last the House has the opportunity to decide on these regulations, which will, when put into effect, save about 14 lives per week or about 700 per year; and each year prevent about 10,000 serious injuries—injuries which often result in long stays in hospital, taking up beds that could be used for other people who need orthopaedic operations and wasting the time of doctors, physiotherapists and nurses who could be caring for other patients.

If the regulations are passed, I understand that we shall save public expenditure by saving the National Health Service about £6 million a year.

The Minister said that it was essential to get the matter right, or the law would fall into disrepute. I respect that argument, but it is a matter of balance. One needs time to get it right, yet the longer it takes the more people will be killed and injured who otherwise would not be. I am not sure whether she has that balance exactly right. I am thinking particularly of the year that has passed since the House voted on the Bill on 28 July 1981.

I also have in mind the reference in regulation 1 to the regulations coming into operation on the twenty-third Monday after these Regulations are made. I wonder whether it has to take quite as long as five and a half months, when we consider that every week 14 people could be saved, assuming that the wearing rate will increase proportionately to the extent that it did in Australia when similar regulations were introduced there some years ago. Therefore, I ask the Minister to take another look at the timing.

I believe that the medical fee has been fixed after two and a half months' negotiation with the British Medical Association, which was partly responsible for holding up the matter for that length of time. I cannot understand why it is necessary to have a fixed fee of £19 or any other figure. I do not see why the doctors should not charge whatever they like for the medical examination.

With regard to the age of 14, does the Minister think that it makes sense to say that children aged 10, 11, 12 and 13 sitting in the front seats of cars should not have to wear seat belts? Perhaps she will look at that aspect again.

My belief is that, once the regulations have been in force for a few months, they will be accepted as widely and as normally as the public accept the regulations under the Air Navigation Order concerning the wearing of belts in aircraft. No one seems to find that objectionable. It is extraordinarily inconsistent for people who do not find that objectionable to object in principle to the regulations before us tonight.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle) referred, in what I thought was a somewhat emotive way, to bringing in the "criminal law". But what else can we do? When people commit a parking offence—another road traffic offence—that is technically a criminal offence, and they are liable to a fine; that is what brings it into the criminal law. There has to be a fine, or there would be no sanction to force people to comply with the law. The same is true of the regulations now before the House. No one thinks of someone who breaks a parking law as being a criminal type, and it is very emotive of my right hon. and learned Friend, however strongly he feels about the matter, to make great play of the word "criminal" in that emotive sense.

I hope that the regulations will be brought in, and brought in quickly.

Mr. Mark Carlisle


Mr. Jessel

I see that my right hon. and learned Friend is trying to intervene. He is a very senior and respected Member of this House, but he did not give way to me and I shall not give way to him. That is the end of my speech.

10.52 pm
Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)

I have spoken in most of the debates on seat belts and I declare two interests at the beginning of the debate. The first is that I am the chairman of the Seatbelt Survivors Club in Britain, and that speaks for itself. Secondly, a few months ago I was elected as the honorary president of the Approved Driving Instructors of Scotland, one of the principal driving instructors' organisations north of the border, none of whose members—I say this particularly to the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence)—has any objection to the introduction of the mandatory use of seat belts.

Mr. Lawrence

I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who has just been elected as president of the organisation to which he referred. Is he not aware that today the chairman of that organisation, Mr. Bob Campbell, has written to the president asking if he will ask in this debate for driving instructors to be exempted under the regulations?

Mr. Robertson

If such a request is on its way, it is highly unprecedented. It certainly has not been brought to my attention, and it would be completely contrary to everything that Mr. Campbell has said. It would be exceedingly surprising, and I hope that I shall not have further occasion to question the validity of what is said by the hon. and learned Member for Burton this evening.

Regulation 4 brings into operation a decision that was taken by Parliament last year on yet another free vote in the House, with yet another decisive majority. Although some of us believe that there have been delays in bringing that worthy objective into operation, we can understand why. Although our impatience is clear, as the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel)—who has been a valiant supporter of the cause for many years—said, we are willing to go along with the Government if it means that the regulations are operated and that an essential road safety measure becomes effective.

As the right hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle) made clear, in a grudging speech by a man well qualified in nit-picking in such regulations, the principle has been determined by Parliament and those who would use a debate on the regulations to question the principle are clearly out of order. The issue is now beyond doubt. Any discussion this evening must be about the precise operation of the regulations and especially the exemptions proposed in it, following lengthy and detailed consultation with those who promote exemptions as well as those who have a clear interest in and long experience of the exemptions proposed.

It is important to underline what the Minister said this evening. The exemptions that she proposed, although limited, arise from the clear and decisive recommendations of the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention, which went into the merits of each case in authoritative detail. The outcome of those deliberations, however imperfect they may be in detail, is the consensus of people at the sharp end of the issue who believe that, whatever the merits of an exemption, the people concerned would be safer with a seat belt than with the limitations of their disability unconstrained by a seat belt.

The hon. Member for Twickenham said that those of us who travel regularly on aeroplanes have yet to see a passenger refuse, on the grounds of size, shape, pregnancy or intermittency of purpose, to wear a belt. If an aeroplane pilot should be so eccentric as to believe that he is safer without a belt and acts upon that belief, the regulations would not allow the aeroplane to take off.

Common sense has shown that seat belts are safer. Common sense has shown, through the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention, a conclusive opinion of experts that the exemptions that have been proposed regularly in all the debates will not assist those on whose behalf they are advanced. Undoubtedly, this is the one measure that will save more lives than any other measure that Parliament could pass. It is long overdue. This is an historic evening and we hope for a big majority.

10.58 pm
Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

I believed that I must vote against the regulations because they introduce the compulsory wearing of seat belts, which was against the advice of the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall. When the enabling Bill was passed, Mr. Alderson said that he was against the police having to enforce the regulations. He said then, and has repeated to me several times, that at night or in failing light there is a probability of a policeman believing in good faith that someone was not wearing a seat belt when he was. The opportunity for error was too great.

However, having read the regulations, I now see that it is not compulsory. According to regulation 6(b) the classes of vehicle mentioned in regulation 4 include a vehicle which is equipped with anchorage points and seat belts". If someone removes the seat belt, the regulation no longer applies. The vehicle is no longer equipped with seat belts and therefore—[Interruption.] I do not understand the disturbance that arises when I merely read out what is stated in the regulations.

Mr. Norman Miscampbell (Blackpool, North)

All you do is pay a bigger fine for doing what you say—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)


Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

The suggestion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you would go round the country removing people's seat belts is one that my hon. and learned Friend should reconsider. As I read regulation 6(b), the compulsion exists not if the vehicle was previously equipped with seat belts but only if it is now. That is an entirely reasonable provision. I share the view of the medical profession and of the police that people ought to wear seat belts and that every encouragement should be given to them to do so. I also share the Government's view that they should be compelled to do so only if the vehicle is actually equipped with seat belts at the time.

If people do not wish the vehicle to be equipped with seat belts at that time, they are committing no offence under the regulations in removing the seat belts. I am merely pointing out to the House what the measure says. If this is wrong, I am sure that the Minister will correct me, in which case she will drive me into the "No" Lobby. If, however, my hon. Friend confirms that the regulations mean what they say and that compulsion arises only if the vehicle is equipped with anchorage points and seat belts and not that it was originally so equipped, we are discussing a voluntary measure that represents sensible and commendable guidance to the public. It does not involve the criminal law and the possibility or the probability of the police, in good faith, accusing someone of not wearing a belt when he is wearing it by the time the car stops, or whatever the circumstances.

The regulations have been skilfully drafted. I commend my hon. Friend for her ministerial responsibility, for taking to heart the speeches made when the parent Act was discussed and on drafting the regulations in such a way that compliance is voluntary rather than a matter of criminal law.

11.2 pm

Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield, East)

I shall be brief as many hon. Members still wish to speak. I approached the issue of seat belts when I came to the House three years ago as something of a pragmatist. I wished to find ways of reducing the unacceptable level of road deaths and serious casualties. It seemed to me, after studying the evidence, that one of the prime remedies—although not the only one—was through the introduction of compulsory wearing of seat belts. I wanted to see the use of seat belts increase from 30 per cent. to levels of 60 per cent., 70 per cent. or 80 per cent.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House who have worked, organised and fought this campaign have done so in a spirit of pragmatism. We have been seeking means to accomplish an end. We feel sometimes that opponents of seat belts fail to see the end that we seek and that they have adopted the attitude that our proposals were an invasion of personal liberty that they were not prepared to tolerate.

I have great respect for the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments but, as the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) said, when we are faced with the haemorrhaging of life, day by day and week by week, it ill-behoves a Committee of the House to regard the whole matter as though it were some technical point of a subsection here and a subsection there. It is important to realise that lives are haemorrhaging away every day that we delay this important measure.

Mr. Cryer

The House, including my hon. Friend, charges the Committee with the duty of looking at the instruments on a technical basis.

Mr. Sheerman

I wanted to put that in its proper perspective, besides the urgency with which these regulations should be put into operation.

I remember the remarks of the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) when we achieved the principle of this measure, last June. He turned to the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) and agreed that he was one of the illiberal, ill-informed, do-gooders of which the hon. and learned Member for Burton spoke. I am also one of those.

I hope that hon. Members accept that we have passed the principle of compulsory seat belt wearing, and over the period of consultation—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but that is not what we are discussing. We are discussing the detail, as the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) has said.

Mr. Sheerman

I was illustrating the fact that that was the principle. This evening we are dealing with the measures by which we implement the seat belt legislation, and the exemptions thereby that we have allowed.

Many hon. Members might think that some of these exemptions have been liberally cast, but we are willing to go along with that, with the exemption of taxis, private hire and the rest, because in good faith we should start on that kind of footing. I commend the regulations to the House and urge the greatest possible haste because people are dying on the streets every hour.

11.6 pm

Mr. Norman Miscampbell (Blackpool, North)

We are now one year on and after eight previous attempts, at the end, I hope, of a long campaign to get these regulations through.

People do not realise that if a driver does not wear a seat belt and is involved in a court case, he may find that he loses anything up to 25 per cent. of his claim by not doing so. One may say that that is the driver's own fault, and his choice.

However, there is a further and important point. I welcome the restrictive way in which the regulations are drafted. One of the greatest fallacies about this subject has been the argument about personal choice. It is nothing to do with that. The wearing of the seat belt is of great importance to the third party in an accident. If the driver wears a seat belt he has a far better chance of controlling the car. If he does not, he kills people who are blameless, not just himself, and the House should remember that.

That is my point and that is why I welcome the regulations.

11.8 pm

Mr. Kenneth Marks (Manchester, Gorton)

I agree with the Under-Secretary's comments that it is time that the regulations went through to support what the majority of the House has been supporting for a long time. As one of her predecessors, I have had to listen for many hours to long speeches on various amendments tabled by opponents of the regulations.

I wish to comment on three of the exemptions. Regulation 5(a) is concerned with door-to-door delivery not applying to vehicles that are adapted for that purpose. Newsagents who deliver in vehicles ought to put on their seatbelts in between journeys because it is the short trip that is usually the most dangerous. The same applies to many others.

When I introduced a Bill to make the wearing of seat belts compulsory, one of the amendments suggested to me was that clergymen should be exempted when on visits to members of their congregations. When I declined to entertain such an amendment, I was advised to take guidance, though I was not told from where.

When hon. Members next go canvassing—and the sooner, the better—if they are using their cars to deliver leaflets door-to-door, I suggest that they do what I do, which is to stop my car and deliver to 10 or 20 houses on each side of the road. If they intend to drive just 100 yards I suggest that it is worth while putting on their seat belts.

As for the medical aspect of all this, I am concerned, not about limiting medical practioners to £19, but about the fee or £19 which I consider to be too much. A certificate of exemption should be provided by the applicant's own GP, who should know, without the need for a medical examination, the circumstances which would prevent that person from wearing a belt. A charge of £19 for merely signing a paper is too much, and no one should be allowed to go to any doctor for a certificate.

I am worried about the exemption for taxi drivers and hire drivers. Taxi drivers seem never to get out of their seats, and seat belt wearing for them might be a good idea. But private hire vehicles often travel long distances, and I would advise drivers as well as passengers to wear seat belts.

I am glad that we have arrived at this final stage. One advantage that the hon. Lady has over her predecessors in office is that the debate will finish at half-past eleven and there will be a vote. There have been a number of occasions when there has been no such time limit. I wish these regulations all success.

11. 12 pm

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

It is true that a majority in the House voted for compulsion, but hon. Members did not vote for a ridiculous set of regulations, and that is what we have. The public listening to "Yesterday in Parliament" will think that they have tuned in to "Weekending", "Not the Nine O'clock News" or "Laugh In" if they hear a broadcast of the speech by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. That is not what most hon. Members feel they voted for when they agreed to compulsion.

There are a number of absurdities in these regulations, and there are two injustices. We have heard some of the absurdities. I draw attention to another one, and that is the one involved in regulation 5(k). Anyone riding in a vehicle for the purpose of remedying a mechanical fault in the vehicle is exempt if he has trade plates. I ask the House to consider how ludicrous that provision is. The only people who are allowed to drive without seats belts whilst testing whether a car is working properly are people with trade plates. I wonder what do-it-yourself mechanics, professional men without trade plates and amateurs generally will think of that provision. If they will not obey it, have we not done something peculiarly absurd in bringing the law into disrepute knowing that a large number of people simply will not buy trade plates so that they may mend their cars and not wear seat belts?

That is only one of the absurdities but, since time is short, I come immediately to the two injustices. One is to the sick. Certainly those who are on low pay and are disabled will be able to have free examinations. But there are 7 million of those. The cost is mind-boggling if they ask for exemption certificates because of their sickness or disability. But it is not they who will be most appalled by the regulations.

Mr. Sheerman

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Mr. Lawrence

I am afraid that I cannot; time is short. But it is nice to know that the hon. Gentleman is attending to what I am saying.

It is those who will not get free exemption certificates who will have to go to doctors, and the recommended charge for considering whether a certificate shall be granted, according to the BMA, is an astonishing £19.

Consider the motorist who has a bad back, a bad shoulder or a bad neck. Goodness knows, there are enough of those in our society. Consider the pregnant woman, terrified that a seat belt will cause injury to her unborn child. Consider the person who is terrified of being confined. Merely to apply to a doctor will cost £19. Some of them will not know that doctors have said that pregnancy will not be an excuse and therefore will not be a reason for exemption. Those people who have to pay £19 will be absolutely livid. I do not know whether that charge will increase the use of the regulations.

When the matter was raised in February 1980 my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), who was then the Minister responsible, was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Waller): Bearing in mind the fees that doctors charge for such examinations, the patient may be required to pay several pounds. My hon. and learned Friend replied: The sort of fees we are talking about"— that is, the Government, before they were conned— are on a very modest level—a pound or two. That is the sort of charge that will be made. He added: I suspect that the answer to that is yes, or certainly a fee so nominal as to be insignificant."—[Official Report; Standing Committee C, 13 February 1980; c. 182–86.] It remains to be seen whether people think that £19 is either an insignificant charge or a nominal fee. That is the first injustice.

Mr. George Robertson

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. and learned Gentleman intervened during my speech and asked whether I was aware that the chairman of the Association of Approved Driving Instructors of Scotland had written calling upon me to ask for exemptions for driving instructors in the debate. I called Councillor Robert Campbell, who was named by the hon. Gentleman, on the telephone—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. The point of order must be to me and not a point of argument.

Mr. Robertson

I am not arguing; this is a genuine point of order. The hon. Gentleman named Councillor Robert Campbell as having written to me. Councillor Robert Campbell said that his organisation has never discussed the subject, and I shall delete his expletive.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that I cannot rule on such a matter. Every hon. Member is responsible for his own speech. Before I call upon the hon. and learned Gentleman to resume, may I say that the Minister would like to reply at 20 minutes past eleven.

Mr. Lawrence

If I have done the hon. Gentleman an injustice, of course I apologise. I spoke to the chairman of the National Association of Approved Driving Instructors within half an hour of coming into the Chamber. He said that within the previous five minutes he had spoken to Mr. Bob Campbell, the chairman of the organisation represented by the hon. Gentleman, and Bob Campbell had asked Mr. Griffith-Mostyn Jones to ask me to convey to the hon. Gentleman the news that his association wanted an exemption.

That brings me neatly to the second injustice in the regulations. How on earth can it be just in regulation 5(i) to exempt driving examiners when driving instructors are not exempted? What possible reason can there be for drawing that distinction? My hon. Friend the Minister says that there may be moments of danger when driving examiners would be better 'without the restriction of a seat belt, as though driving instructors, who do not have to deal with the polished examinee, but the raw recruit who cannot drive all, is not in any such moment of danger. She speaks as if driving instructors who deal not with the polished examinee but with the raw recruit who cannot drive are not in any danger. She says that the examiner must allow that moment of danger to pass before acting, otherwise he cannot test the driver's competence. But what of the driving instructor who will ask how he is to teach anyone unless the pupil is allowed an opportunity to remedy or to see the effect of his mistake before the instructor acts? It is preposterous to draw a wholly false distinction between the danger affecting a driving examiner at the end of the teaching process and the driving instructor at the beginning of that process.

The only reason why examiners and not instructors have been exempted is that the Minister is under the mistaken impression that the RAC is in favour of it. It is not. Indeed, we received a circular from the RAC saying that driving instructors should be exempted. In addition, she believes that the BSM is a driving school, although it is a car hire firm that subcontracts to driving instructors. She relies on the national joint council, which is made up of several organisations, including the RAC and BSM, and has not consulted any of its branches.

I see, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you want me to conclude so that the Minister may have a chance to make another witty speech. However, the regulations are shot through with injustice and absurdity and are a fatuous load of ill-thought-out and ridiculous rubbish. Moreover, the regulations are a danger to the law, because they will be held in contempt and will endanger the relationship between the police and the public. There can be few hon. Members who will not join me in the Lobby against the regulations.

11.21 pm
Mrs. Chalker

By leave of the House, I shall reply as quickly as possible to as many of the points as possible, but I shall commence with remarks made by the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. The Select Committee has suggested that by using regulation 3(2) the Government are asking Parliament to sign a blank cheque since references in the regulations to other enactments are to them, as amended in the future.

As the Committee acknowledges, there is a close link between the wearing regulations and the Construction and Use Regulations. It could not be otherwise, because the anchorages and the belts are put in cars through the Construction and Use Regulations. It would be nonsense to make the wearing regulations completely separate. Some technical factors sometimes occur in the amendment of Construction and Use Regulations which might indirectly affect the wearing regulations. As I have said, regulation 3(2) ensures that the wearing regulations will be automatically aligned with those minor changes in construction and use. Otherwise they would be incomplete and defective in some way, causing the House undue additional work.

I fully accept what has been said and I do not for one moment believe that it is right to do anything that extends the wearing regulations without seeking the affirmative resolution of the House. I know that I cannot bind my successors, but it is impossible for us to avoid the Construction and Use Regulations having such a serious impact on the wearing regulations. The Government have always held that compulsory wearing could be introduced only by specific and positive powers. It would certainly not be proper to introduce a substantial change through that link. However, I shall leave that point and try to deal with the other points that have been made.

I was sad to hear some of the comments made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle), particularly about the twenty-third Monday. That was put in the regulations for a good reason. When the regulations were laid it was not known whether it would be possible for another place to debate them before the Summer Recess. If a date had been inserted, that date would either have been so far ahead that the regulations would not have been brought into use in good time, or it would have been too close, rendering them ineffective because another place would not have had a chance to debate them.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Runcorn also spoke about exemptions for delivery rounds, as did other hon. Members. We cannot extend exemptions to ordinary saloon cars; the regulations would thereby be unenforceable. I agree with the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Marks) that people doing intermittent delivery rounds should be wearing belts in their own safety interests. We cannot extend and enforce exemptions to people driving private saloon cars.

My right hon. and learned Friend referred to performing a manoeuvre. I sought Chambers dictionary because I had a sneaky suspicion that someone might think of that argument. The words are taken directly from section 33(a). Interpretation, as my right hon. and learned Friend knows better than I, is settled by the courts.

Under the construction and use regulations no person may drive a vehicle in reverse for longer than is necessary. I am sure that "necessary" means the distance which is to get into a position which could not be achieved by going in a forward direction. My right hon. and learned Friend talked about chauffeurs. I do not think that a chauffeur is likely to be attacked by his employer. On the other hand, I am sad to say that many drivers of private hire vehicles and taxis pick up customers they have never seen before who might sometime late at night interfere with the driving of the vehicle.

My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) said that the former chief constable of Devon and Cornwall was against the regulations. The traffic committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers in England and Wales is fully supportive. My hon. Friend said that there was a loophole in regulation 6(b). The Construction and Use Regulations require that the cars that I described earlier must contain both anchorages and seat belts. The driver of a vehicle will be liable to a high penalty if they are not provided.

Nobody was sadder than I when the British Medical Association said that it would suggest to its doctor members a fee of £19 for a medical examination. The doctors do not need to charge that fee. A doctor may waive the fee, charge a pound or two, or charge nothing. That is why we seek to ensure that people on low incomes and the disabled are covered by the DHSS medical service.

My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton also asked about armoured cars. They do not come into this because they are not covered by the Construction and Use Regulations for compulsory seat belt wearing. The Armed Services were consulted about the regulations and are happy with them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) asked about children. Children under 14 will be covered by the children's regulations to be brought in simultaneously. He also commented on other matters, which I have covered.

The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) was challenged about Scottish driving instructors.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)


Mrs. Chalker

They were consulted and they sent us no specific request for exemption.

Mr. Marlow


Mrs. Chalker

Other hon. Members made a variety of points that it is impossible to answer.

Mr. Marlow


Mrs. Chalker

I simply say to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence)—

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. At this time of night, surely not! Mrs. Lynda Chalker.

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was trying to ask my hon. Friend whether she was prepared to give way.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. That certainly is not a point of order. It is an abuse.

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business):

The House divided: Ayes 181, Noes 59.

Division No. 288] [11.30 pm
Adley, Robert Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S)
Baker, Kenneth (St.M'bone) Buchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A.
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Buck, Antony
Berry, Hon Anthony Butler, Hon Adam
Best, Keith Cadbury, Jocelyn
Biffen, Rt Hon John Campbell-Savours, Dale
Blaker, Peter Canavan, Dennis
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Carmichael, Neil
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Carter-Jones, Lewis
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Mayhew, Patrick
Chapman, Sydney Meyer, Sir Anthony
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Clarke, Thomas C'b'dge, A'rie Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Cope, John Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Cox, T. (W'dsw'th, Toot'g) Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Crouch, David Miscampbell, Norman
Crowther, Stan Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Moate, Roger
Davidson, Arthur Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Morton, George
Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd) Neale, Gerrard
Deakins, Eric Neubert, Michael
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Newton, Tony
Dobson, Frank O'Neill, Martin
Dormand, Jack Onslow, Cranley
Dorrell, Stephen Page, John (Harrow, West)
Dubs, Alfred Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Parker, John
Durant, Tony Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Dykes, Hugh Patten, John (Oxford)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Pavitt, Laurie
Eyre, Reginald Pawsey, James
Faith, Mrs Sheila Penhaligon, David
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Pitt, William Henry
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Forman, Nigel Prior, Rt Hon James
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd) Rathbone, Tim
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
George, Bruce Rhodes James, Robert
Golding, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Goodhart, Sir Philip Rifkind, Malcolm
Goodlad, Alastair Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Griffiths, E. (B'y St. Edm'ds) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Hampson, Dr Keith Robertson, George
Hannam, John Rooker, J. W.
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Roper, John
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Hayhoe, Barney Rossi, Hugh
Haynes, Frank Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Sheerman, Barry
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Silvester, Fred
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Sims, Roger
Hooley, Frank Soley, Clive
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd) Speed, Keith
Hoyle, Douglas Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Janner, Hon Greville Squire, Robin
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Stainton, Keith
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd) Stallard, A. W.
Jessel, Toby Stanley, John
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Steel, Rt Hon David
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
King, Rt Hon Tom Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Knight, Mrs Jill Stoddart, David
Lamont, Norman Stott, Roger
Lee, John Strang, Gavin
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Thompson, Donald
Lyell, Nicholas Tilley, John
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Tinn, James
McCrindle, Robert Vaughan, Dr Gerard
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Wakeham, John
Macfarlane, Neil Waldegrave, Hon William
MacGregor, John Waller, Gary
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Ward, John
MacKay, John (Argyll) Warren, Kenneth
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. Watson, John
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Wellbeloved, James
McNally, Thomas Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
McNamara, Kevin Wiggin, Jerry
McWilliam, John Wilkinson, John
Major, John Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'Sea W)
Marks, Kenneth Wolfson, Mark
Woolmer, Kenneth Tellers for the Ayes:
Young, Sir George (Acton) Mr. Ian Lang and
Mr. David Hunt
Alexander, Richard Kimball, Sir Marcus
Ancram, Michael Lawrence, Ivan
Arnold, Tom Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Banks, Robert Marlow, Antony
Bendall, Vivian Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Body, Richard Mayhew, Patrick
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Bradley, Tom Molyneaux, James
Brinton, Tim Montgomery, Fergus
Brotherton, Michael Osborn, John
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Parry, Robert
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Proctor, K. Harvey
Clegg, Sir Walter Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Renton, Tim
Colvin, Michael Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)
Cryer, Bob Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Dickens, Geoffrey Shersby, Michael
Eggar, Tim Skinner, Dennis
Emery, Sir Peter Stanbrook, Ivor
Farr, John Stevens, Martin
Fisher, Sir Nigel Trotter, Neville
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Fry, Peter van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Ginsburg, David Wheeler, John
Glyn, Dr Alan Winterton, Nicholas
Goodhew, Sir Victor
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Tellers for the Noes:
Hawkins, Sir Paul Mr. Christopher Murphy and
Heddle, John Mr Harry Greenway
Kilfedder, James A.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1982, which were laid before this House on 13th July, be approved.