For those of you who read today’s press release from the Dept for Business & Innovation and assumed that Britain’s clocks are set to change permanently soon, might I ratchet your expectations downwards?
There is a Private Members Bill winding its way through parliament at the moment which goes to committee next month and must be agreed upon before April 2012 to avoid being guillotined. The Govt is now formally supporting the Bill.
Assuming it passes all these hurdles, the Govt would then commission a review and that might determine when or even whether there should be jump onto CET – possibly by 2013.
The Review though will consult all the devolved UK parliaments and assemblies and there is nothing to suggest that Scotland would change its tune. In fact Edinburgh said as recently as last March that the SNP administration was against it because of the increased risk to Scottish children travelling to school in the dark.
Furthermore the UK govt has said that ‘consensus’ was needed for a change but what it really meant was unanimity because as a spokesman for BIS told me “if there is any disagreement then it wont happen”.
This begs the question: Why would the UK govt back a plan which it knows in its heart will fail due to an effective Scottish veto?
The answer seems to lie (according to my BBC Millbank colleagues) in the right wing of the Tory party whose MPs predominantly like the idea of brighter evenings in Winter. So, in order to placate them after the Commons Euro referendum vote on Monday, the Govt will throw them a bone to chew on, which ironically would bring Britain that bit closer to Europe i.e. in the same time zone.
PS: For those of you who cant get enough of this story, I’ve attached my TV piece on it from 12 months ago