Clause 209

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

10.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

I take this opportunity to refer to the point raised by the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) on Second Reading last week about the relationship between this Bill and the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill, to which he has tabled Amendments.

The Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill contains certain transitional provisions in Clause 7 and other Clauses designed to deal with the situation which could arise if that Bill came into force before this Bill. Specifically it refers to the Road Traffic Act, 1971. The reason why 1971 appears as the suffix to the Road Traffic Act, 1971, in the print of the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill is that that was introduced in 1971. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that when that Bill is reprinted at the conclusion of its Committee stage it will include references to the Road Traffic Act, 1972. That is one of the things which happen automatically as a printing correction. It has happened for many years in similar situations. No practical problems will arise.

The Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill is not incorporated in this consolidating Bill because it straddles and includes part of Part III of the Road Traffic Act,1960, relating to public service vehicles, which is not included in this Bill. It has therefore been left on one side.

All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I hope that I have persuaded the right hon. Gentleman that that is so.

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

I am grateful to the Solicitor-General for giving prompt attention to the points I raised. I was aware that the automatic updating of Bills would take place without any problems arising. However, I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman has completely met the difficulty I put to him which concerned the convenience of hon. Members when a Bill was brought forward for Second Reading which referred to a statute as though it had been passed when it had not even been printed and was not available to hon. Members.

While for convenience it is plainly better that the references should be to the consolidated Measure rather than go back to the earlier Measures which are part of the consolidation, I thought that from the point of view of timing it would have been better to have got this Bill out of the way before starting on the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill. A point which we shall have to pursue in Committee on that Bill is that this is, in a sense, a question of backing both horses. There are references in the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill to provisions repealed by this Bill, and there are other parts in the same Bill which are quoted in this consolidation Bill. It is awkward for the House when it is asked to consider Measures quoting a consolidation Bill which has not been put before it, let alone passed.

From the point of view of convenience and the tidiness of legislation it would be better to have a sight of the Bill to which Clauses in another Bill are referred back, otherwise people are put to a great deal of trouble. Had the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill become law before the Consolidation Measure, additional problems would have arisen because it would have referred to an Act which did not exist.

I raised this point on Second Reading because I did not want to encourage those who are otherwise doing a good job to cause inconvenience when Bills are going through both Houses of Parliament at the same time. I appreciate what the Solicitor-General has done to assist us in Committee on the other Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill and I am much obliged.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 209 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 to 3 agreed to.