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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Time Runs Out For Ill-Considered Clock Change Plans

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Proposals in the Westminster Parliament to change daylight saving time, which would have plunged Scotland into darkness until later in the morning, have failed.

A Private Member’s Bill, promoted by Conservative MPs from the south and south-east of England was defeated in the House of Commons on Friday.  Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford took part in the debate and voted against the Bill.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Dr Whiteford said:

“Ultimately, it is a quality of life issue. One thing that struck me after the last debate on the Bill was that a huge number of people from England, mostly older people who remember the last trial, got in touch with me by letter, phone or e-mail. They all said the same thing: “This was a disaster when they did it in the ’70s.” They found it miserable getting up, going to work and delivering things in the dark. People who remember it did not like it.

“That has to be our arbiter: is this going to be helpful for our quality of life? I know that it is going to impact more on my part of the world than some other parts of these islands. For the sake of our health and well-being, we need to think carefully before messing around with something that might not need to be changed.

Commenting afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“MPs from the south attempted to push through this Bill, and with it the prospect of darker mornings for everyone north of Manchester, with little regard to the impact these changes would have on the quality of life for people in the north.

“I had real concerns that no account was being taken of our climate and the fact that the coldest hours are before dawn. While there’s not much evidence that daylight is a decisive factor in road safety, we know that weather conditions play a very significant role. Minimising the time drivers and pedestrians spend on icy roads and pavements has to be a key consideration.
    
“The evidence put forward supporting this change was entirely untested, and the proponents of this Bill have ignored the sound reasons why this change was abandoned after being trialled in the 1970s, and more recently by other European neighbours who found that the shift had a damaging effect on safety, health, energy consumption and commerce.
  
“This change would be acutely felt in Scotland, raising real safety and quality of life concerns.  I’m therefore pleased that the Bill has fallen and will not be progressing any further.”

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