HL Deb 16 July 1968 vol 295 cc259-63

[No. 3] After Clause 4. insert the following new schedule:


1. Subject to the provisions of this Schedule, section 38(2) of the Interpretation Act 1889 (effect of repeals) shall apply, in the event of the expiration of sections 1 to 3 of this Act, as if those sections had ben repealed by another Act.

2. In the event of the expiration of the said sections 1 to 3, the enactments repealed by this Act shall, subject to paragraph 3 below, thereupon revive; but if other provision is made by law of the States of Jersey or of Guernsey or by an Act of Tynwald, the Summer Time Acts 1922 to 1947 as revived by this paragraph shall not apply to the Bailiwick of Jersey, the Bailiwick Guernsey or the Isle of Man, as the case may be.

3. Section 1(2) of the Summer Time Act 1925 (which altered the period of summer time) shall not revive by virtue of paragraph 2 above in any event; and if the other provisions of the Summer Time Acts 1922 to 1947 so revive, they shall have effect subject to the modification that in section 3(1) of the Summer Time Act 1922 (which defines the period of summer time)—

  1. (a) for the word 'April', in both places where it occurs, there shall be substituted the word 'March'; and
  2. (b) for the words from 'following' (where that word last occurs) onwards there shall be substituted the words 'following the fourth Saturday in October'."

6.28 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3. This is a new Schedule which provides for the contingency that Sections 1 to 3 will be allowed to expire in October, 1971, and that the repealed Statutes (in particular the Statutes (Definition of Time) Act 1880 and the Summer Time Acts 1922 and 1947) will thereupon revive.

The first two paragraphs are largely procedural, but the third introduces an important change because it provides for the Summer Time Acts to revive not as they are now but with an extension of the basic period of summer time (that is, the period which will apply subject to any variations made by Order in Council) by four weeks in the spring and three in the autumn. I recollect that this was one of the suggestions made as an alternative to permanent British Standard Time.

Paragraph 1 of the Schedule, which applies Section 38(2) of the Interpretation Act 1889 to the expiry of Sections 1 to 3 of this measure as though they had been repealed by another enactment, is procedural only. The main effect of it will be to ensure that the change back to Greenwich Mean Time will not affect retrospectively anything done before the change when the time when this was done is material.

Paragraph 2 provides for the revival of the repealed Statutes and deals with the effect of this in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Both are interested parties. It provides that the revival shall not have effect in any of these territories which has meanwhile enacted its own legislation, a right recognised in Clause 3. Thus, if during the period that British Standard Time is in force any of the territories should itself choose to adopt it permanently the reversion to Greenwich Mean Time by Great Britain will not overrule that decision. This is an unlikely contingency, but needs formally to be provided for, since the subject is within the legislative competence of the territories.

The really significant provision of the new Schedule is in paragraph 3. At present the period of summer time laid down in the Act of 1922, as amended by that of 1925, runs from the day following the third Saturday in April until the day following the first Saturday in October—some five and a half months in all. The 1947 Act, however, allows this period to be varied in any year by Order in Council, and that power was used in respect of each of the three years 1965 to 1967 to extend the period so as to run from the end of March until the end of October—or some seven months in all. This paragraph of the Schedule provides for the revival of the Summer Time Acts 1922 and 1947 only (as the 1925 Act merely altered the end of summer time from the day following the third Saturday in September to that following the first Saturday in October and would therefore be superseded by the new terminal date), and for the period of summer time stipulated in the 1922 Act to be modified so as to conform to the period introduced for 1965–67 by Orders in Council (that is, from the day following the third Saturday in March to that following the fourth Saturday in October). In other words, this extended period would be built into the Statutes themselves; and, while there would still be power to vary it in any year either by shortening or by lengthening it, there would be the less occasion to do so.

The reason for the change is this. The inquiries we conducted prior to the introduction of this Bill showed that the extension of the summer time period introduced by Order in Council had been widely welcomed among people in all occupations and in all parts of the country. Whatever divisions of opinion there were about the desirability of applying the equivalent of summer time throughout the year, there were scarcely any of the representative organisations we consulted which wanted to revert to the basic statutory period contained in the Acts of 1922 and 1925. Virtually all wished to see summer time applied at least from the end of March until the end of October.

If the Summer Time Acts are to revive it is obviously sensible, therefore, it should be in a form which gives effect to this general wish. There should be nothing controversial in the proposal to do this. Indeed, it we do not the only result is likely to be that Orders in Council will have to be made year after year to achieve the same object; so wasting the time of both Houses on drafts requiring Affirmative Resolutions which it seems that nobody wilt wish to dispute. There is no point in putting Parliament to this unnecessary trouble or leaving uncertainty in the minds of the public. Even if British Standard. Time should be abandoned as a result of trial this useful little reform will remain, to the general satisfaction. My Lords, in this Schedule we thought of all possible contingencies, and I hope that your Lordships will approve it.

Moved, That the House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that for my part I agree with all the paragraphs of this new Schedule. I cannot help thinking that the noble Lord, Lord Strange, left our counsels too early, for had he remained I believe he would have wished to express approval for paragraph 2 so far as it concerns Tynwald. I am certain that the special provision made in paragraph 3 is a wise one and in accordance with present-clay thinking.

There is only one question that I want to raise. On the printed copy I have, the first part of this new Schedule is to be inserted after Clause 4 in the Bill, but the second part is to be inserted after Clause 37. Is this a new manifestation of the Government's tortuous thinking? Are there 33 clauses which neither House of Parliament has seen? I feel teat we should hesitate before putting this mysterious material on the Statute Book. Or is the explanation simply that it is a misprint?


My Lords, this is not the Government's usual omniscience. The noble Lord is quite right. This is a misprint, for which I apologise.


My Lords, before this Amendment is accepted by the House, may I just refer to the corn-meats of my noble friend Lord Stonham and of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, to the effect that Lord Strange, whom we all know as a great champion of the Isle of Man, has unfortunately left the Chamber? May I step in in his place, and say that I think that the Isle of Man will welcome this and will greatly appreciate this modified quota of autonomy which has been given to them. My only excuse for saying this is so that one page of the history of the Isle of Man may be completed. Back in the year 1602, when the family of the noble Lord, Lord Strange, were virtually the Kings of the Isle of Man, they were faced with an incipient rebellion in that pleasant island; and the Stanleys, as they then were, found it necessary to send a Lieutenant Governor to deal with this rebellion. The name of the Lieutenant Governor whom they chose for that task was Leatherland. That page of history is now complete.


My Lords, I would not discuss history with my noble friend, but I should like to put him right on one thing to save myself a lot of grief in the future. We are not in this Bill giving any form of autonomy to the Isle of Man. This is merely an example of the autonomy that they have enjoyed for a long time.