HL Deb 21 January 1970 vol 307 cc129-30

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have observed the decision of magistrates in respect of one Biddlecombe, described as a jockey on horses, who was convicted for the third time of a motoring offence, but, because it was stated in his defence that he must be able to drive swiftly from one racecourse to another in order to maintain his employment, no disqualification was imposed; and whether Her Majesty's Government consider that justice is done and seen to be done when the drivers of lorries and commercial travellers' vehicles engaged on work essential to exports are disqualified, quite properly, under similar circumstances, and thus lose their employment.]


My Lords, I am informed that, on December 30 last, Mr. Terence Walter Biddlecombe pleaded guilty to exceeding a speed limit. He was fined £25 and his driving licence was endorsed. As Mr. Biddlecombe's licence had been endorsed twice within the preceding period of three years, the court was by law required to disqualify him for driving for at least six months unless satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, that there were grounds for mitigating the normal consequences of the conviction and for disqualifying him for a shorter period, or not at all. The court decided not to order disqualification and, as required by law, stated the grounds for their decision in open court. The matter was entirely one for the court and it would not be proper for me to comment on the merits of their decision. Nor can I accept my noble friend's invitation to compare this case with others.