MP wins chance to alter the clock

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Parliamentary Correspondent

The prospect of an end to adjusting your watch on crossing the Channel moved closer yesterday. After topping a ballot on backbench Bills, Tory John Butterfill announced he would introduce a "daylight saving" Bill to advance the clocks an hour.

Mr Butterfill said the police believed the change would save 660 deaths and serious injuries a year and cut pounds 250m a year from heating and lighting bills.

But the move to Central European Time, with "double summer time", has a downside. Postal workers and others who work outdoors face darker mornings and in Scotland in winter the sun would not be up until nearly 10am.

Mr Butterfill, MP for Bournemouth West, said he would accept an amendment so that Scotland could stay on the present Greenwich Meantime-British Summertime system.

However, while the Bill stands a fair chance of success, the idea of two time zones within the United Kingdom, playing havoc with timetables, is unlikely to appeal to many.

Mr Butterfill's name was first up in the annual ballot of backbench MPs to introduce a private member's Bill. Twenty names were drawn but the constraints of parliamentary time mean only about half a dozen are likely to reach the statute book, and only then if they are not too controversial.

Two years ago MPs voted by 103 votes to 86 in favour of a Bill to advance the clocks but the parliamentary timetable meant it made no progress.

During the Second World War clocks were changed four times a year to maximise daylight. Double summer time was tried 25 years ago but it was dropped after a number of children were killed in Scotland on their way to school.

Second in the ballot was Alan Meale, Labour MP for Mansfield. He said he will study material sent to him by different groups before making up his mind on his proposed Bill.