New Clause 11 — Time

Part of Financial Services (Regulation of Derivatives) – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 15th March 2011.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland) 8:45 pm, 15th March 2011

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

This is my third speech of the evening and I plan not to take too much time about it. Tom Greatrex asked whether we could have the past five hours back. For most of that I blame Mr Donohoe, who took up more than half that time.

My ongoing dispute with the assignation of time in the UK is firmly on record, with three speeches in Hansard over the past few years. It is my intention with the new clause to put an end to my shouting at the sun that happens periodically in this place. The new clause has more to do with how we deal with the amount of sunlight that we have in Scotland and how that relates to time. It deals with any changes to the clocks in the UK.

As anyone north of Manchester knows, the northern part of the island known as Great Britain and the islands to the west and the north of Great Britain are subject to very odd sunlight patterns at times, owing to our longitude and latitude and the alignment of our islands. We have very different periods of daylight in the UK, both summer and winter. Our winter days are short, with sunrise not happening till 9 am, so we must be able to adjust our clocks for the best use of time. Over the past few centuries, politicians have been bringing forward proposals to address the issue, with the most recent proposal occurring in this Parliament as a private Member’s Bill, when Rebecca Harris demonstrated that there is still a drive to change the clocks unilaterally.

At present, 65% of Scots are against changing the clocks, according to a YouGov survey in February 2010. However, if fewer than 300 MPs at Westminster voted to change the clocks in the UK, those MPs would change the lives of millions. The Government can make these changes and the Scots Parliament has no redress. It has been and will continue to be argued that it will be impossible for someone in Scotland to call someone in England because of the time difference, which is bunkum, or that it will not be possible to take a train, because it is beyond the capability of the human mind for someone to adjust their watch by an hour—again, bunkum. I have faith that everyone can adapt to the slightest change.