Clause 43

Orders of the Day — ROAD TRAFFIC BILL [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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TESTS OF SATISFACTORY CONDITION OF VEHICLES OTHER THAN GOODS VEHICLES TO WHICH S. 45 APPLIES.

10.19 p.m.

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I wish to raise a number of points on Clauses 43, 44, 45, 46 and 52. These Clauses relate to the obligatory testing of road vehicles, as specified, and I wish the Minister to give an assurance that these Clauses, if approved, would be enforced. Further, by what regulations and methods would they be enforced? The law consolidated in these Clauses lays down that road vehicles should be tested and certificated accordingly.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

Order. I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he must deal with the question of consolidation. He seems to be going into the merits.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I thought that I was speaking about the consolidation of the existing law. I am pleased to see that the Solicitor-General is to reply, because perhaps he can explain how, under consolidation, the existing law can and will be implemented and enforced.

Thousands of vehicles are on the roads without having been road tested and certificated. I want the hon. and learned Gentleman to explain why and how there should be consolidation of existing law when that law is not working. I cannot agree to accepting these Clauses when the existing law is not being carried out. I am not discussing the merits or demerits. Indeed, I am all in favour of consolidation. My point is not that there should not be testing and certificating, but that the existing law should be carried out, which is not being done at the moment.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

Order. The hon. Gentleman must realise that on Second Reading it was agreed that this law should be consolidated. There must now be reasons to show why it is not being.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

I thought I was explaining that one reason for my objection to consolidation is that existing law is not being carried out. I ask the Solicitor-General to explain how the Bill will operate for the enforcement of the law. The law being consolidated is not being observed. How and why should we consolidate it when it is not being carried out? I want an assurance that some action will be taken to see, if we agree to these Clauses, that the law they contain will be carried out.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

Order. The Solicitor-General would not be in order in replying to that. The hon. Gentleman is not in order in making that point. It has nothing to do with consolidation, the principle of which was agreed on Second Reading.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

I appreciate the hon. Member's concern about enforcement or non-enforcement of this branch of the law. It is not my intention to reply on behalf of my right hon. Friend on that point save only to say that if, as the House agreed on Second Reading, these provisisions are consolidated at least they will be much more clearly drawn together. The nature and extent of the law and of the obligations that have to be enforced will be much more readily identifiable, which will be some small improvement on the situation within the context of which the hon. Member can advance his observations.

I cannot say more about enforcement, save that it is easier to point to enforcement or non-enforcement of the law when it is consolidated than when it is scattered around.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 43 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 44 to 158 ordered to stand part of the Bill.