Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 am on 3rd February 2017.

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Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick Conservative, Bosworth 10:00 am, 3rd February 2017

Indeed; King Richard died in horrid circumstances, leaving Henry Tudor to be crowned Henry VII. In the run-up to the 2015 election, Richard’s mortal remains were discovered in a car park in Leicester. [Hon. Members: “Ah!”] Interestingly, the exact position where he was found—my hon. Friends might like to hear this—was under a parking bay with an “R” on it, which one might say stood for “Reserved”, but it actually turned out to stand for “Rex”, Latin for king—Richard Rex, King of England.

Just before the 2015 general election, Richard’s mortal remains were taken back to Bosworth Field, where he was killed in action just over 500 years earlier. One of the judgments that the local police had to make was how to respond to an event that had received not just county coverage but country and worldwide coverage. The question was just how many people would turn up. I was invited to attend not only the proceedings at Bosworth Field and the point of the coffin’s departure but the events afterwards in Market Bosworth. I took the view that, even with a police escort and given the narrow lanes, there was no way that I could attend more than one event. I simply could not possibly get to them all. I arrived at the battlefield two hours early, because I had absolutely no idea how long it would take me to get there. In fact, we had a marquee, which was about six times the size of the Chamber, absolutely packed with journalists from all over the world. There were many thousands of people, and the roads were clogged.

The reason why it was an incredibly emotional experience—perhaps the most emotional that I have ever had as a Member of Parliament—to see the coffin arrive was that the field was in dead silence. And a very special day it was, but the point is that if the Bill is enacted—if it gets its Third Reading, goes to the other place and comes back approved and becomes law— a council in such a situation might want at a stroke to change its parking regulations on the day. Its charges might be quite ridiculous and it might need to process people quickly, so the Bill will help there.

The other event that I want to refer to involved completely the opposite situation for traffic: the solar eclipse that took place on 11 August 1999.