Well, thousands of you wrote to Sir George Young over the past few days to express your anger at the way the Daylight Saving Bill was scuppered on Friday and to ask him for extra time to finish the debate in a way fitting for democracy.
It was a long shot and we certainly made ourselves heard!
Sir George spoke in the Commons this morning and announced the business for the next two weeks – ie what wil be debated in the House each day. Unfortunately, he has not allocated any further time to the bill. In the questions that followed, six MPs pushed him on the issue but, while he praised Rebecca Harris MP and the bill, he said he could see no way, even with extra time, that the bill could make it through the House of Lords and back to the commons within the sitting of this parliament.
Ben Bradshaw MP has branded his response “disappointing and unconvincing”.
We’re taking advice on next steps now and will post when we have planned our next steps.
On Friday, the Daylight Saving Bill was ‘talked out’ by a couple of hostile MPs… But, it’s not over! There’s a chance to save the bill, but we need to act fast.
We might be able to get some more parliamentary time, so the supportive majority of MPs can vote it through. We just need to persuade a man named George to give it to us.
As Leader of the House, Sir George Young (to give him his proper title) decides what gets debated when. He’ll only give the bill another chance if he feels the same public pressure MPs got in the run-up to the vote. You can probably guess where this is going!
We’ve rejigged our infamous MP lobbying tool, and you can now write directly to Sir George Young, cc-ing in your MP. We don’t know exactly when he’ll make a decision but it could be as soon as tomorrow, so there’s no time to waste.
Even people who don’t support the bill were appalled by the undemocratic tactics employed by a tiny minority in the Commons on Friday, and the 140-or-so MPs who rescheduled important constituency meetings to support the bill are furious.
In fact, there’s a strong sense in Westminster that Friday’s events could mark the beginning of the end for the current Private Members’ Bill system. This comment from Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw sums up the feeling pretty well:
No Private Member’s Bill in memory has enjoyed such strong all-party support and if this one can’t be given the chance of getting onto the statute book we might as well scrap the whole system of Private Members’ Bills.
There’ll be a time to decide whether we want to go down that road, but right now the clock is ticking. Together we can persuade Sir George to do the right thing, but we need to get serious numbers behind this.
We don’t want to get your hopes up too much – this is a long shot, no question. But if we pull it off, we’ll have saved the bill and shown Friday’s timewasters that they can’t put us off so easily. And if that’s not worth a try, I don’t know what is.
Let’s do it!
P.S. Massive, heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s been in touch with messages of support and encouragement over the weekend. As ever, we’re humbled and inspired by your generosity and enthusiasm. We’ll do our best to reply to everyone, but please forgive us if it takes a few days – we’re working through the backlog as fast as we can.
Sometimes things don’t go your way. Today was one of those days.
About an hour ago the Daylight Saving Bill failed to pass its Third Reading in the House of Commons.
The problem wasn’t a lack of support. Even with over 120 supportive MPs in the Commons, the support of 90 national organisations, the UK government and strong public opinion polls, a couple of hostile MPs were able to run down the clock with a series of ‘wrecking amendments’ designed to waste time, so the bill never even went to a vote. The tricks they use to hold up the process – from quoting the bible to hiding in the Commons lobby – are an affront to the democratic process.
Today’s result illustrates everything that’s wrong with the Private Member’s Bill system.
We’re really angry about this, and many MPs feel the same way (see below for a few choice reactions). More than 120 of them have given up a day of of constituency meetings to be in Westminster and support the bill. We fell foul of a broken system that’s crying out for reform, so our first job is to see if there’s another way to make this happen.
There are a few options on the table, from persuading the government to take up the legislation itself, to lobbying for more parliamentary time. But for now, I’d just like to say a massive thank you for all your hard work: lobbying your MP, donating to the campaign or just arguing for lighter evenings at the pub or around the dinner table.
Together we’ve moved the clock change debate further forward than it’s been for decades, and shown how a whole new approach to campaigning can work. We’ve built something pretty special over the last couple of years, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Campaign manager, Lighter Later
Given strong x party support the Govt should now find time for the #daylightsavingsbill after it was talked out by handfull of wrecking MPs
— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) January 20, 2012
Commons held hostage by Chope, Davies & SNP to prevent Daylight Saving bill passing. Friday sittings need reforming, they’re a waste of time
— Lord Slate (@LordSlate) January 20, 2012
10 MPs have managed to block the daylight saving bill by talking it out & wastIng time going through Division lobbies. #DaylightSavingsBill
— Adrian Sanders (@adriansandersmp) January 20, 2012
— Cllr Alex Bigham (@alexbigham) January 20, 2012
There are just a few days left before the big vote in parliament. And before we dive into whatever last-minute chaos the next 48 hours brings, we just wanted to say thank to everyone who has supported us so far.
On Friday MPs will decide the fate of the Daylight Saving Bill. If they vote the right way, it’ll be the latest (and greatest) in a long line of victories powered by the Lighter Later community.
Their amazing lobbying efforts mean it’s all to play for, but we’re not there yet.
All around the country, the light-loving organisations of the coalition are beavering away, rallying their members and adding their unique expertise to local debates. In our offices in London and Edinburgh, meanwhile, we’re hammering the phones every day: wooing the waverers, talking to the media and charming MPs’ diary secretaries.
We’ve crunched the numbers and we’re very close to securing the 102 MPs that we need to win the crucial vote this Friday. It’s going to go right down to the wire.
One last push from you could get your MP in the chamber (they may well hav confirmed already!) for the all-important vote. Why not head over to our easy-peasy lobbying tool and check where your MP stands on this.
Or you can tweet your MP … lots of MPs are on twitter and it’s a great quick and direct way to get in touch.
Already contacted your MP in the last week? As long as you’re polite there’s nothing wrong with a friendly follow-up, even if it’s just to see which way your MP is currently leaning, and whether any specific issues are standing in the way of a ‘yes’ vote.
We know this approach works. Thanks to your efforts, scores of MPs have rescheduled appointments to be in parliament on the day, and are lobbying colleagues to do the same.
This is our moment. All those email, tweets, calls and column inches; all that energy and passion have been building up to this point.
Keeping everything crossed for Friday!
If you live in Northumberland, Cumbria or Yorkshire you may have heard Lighter Later on your radio this morning or seen us in your local press. A whole host of organisations form the north of england have come out on the side of clock change today – calling on their local MPs back the daylight saving bill and vote for a review.
Anne MacIntosh, a Yorkshire MP, recently claimed clock change would be bad for northern counties but she seems to be in a minority. There’s huge support all across the nation – political, public AND civic …
Mike Pratt, Chief Executive of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, sees health and wellbeing benefits - “Daylight is a wonderful natural resource so why deprive ourselves of it un-necessarily? More daylight in the UK will give people the opportunity to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors and experiencing the joys of wildlife.”
Windermere Lake Cruises is England’s fourth most popular visitor attraction and employs 150 local people. Chief Executive Nigel Wilkinson sees huge economic benefits – “In these times of financial constraints, from our businesses perspective, no other zero-cost change would bring as much economic benefit as a change to daylight saving.”
Rt Hon Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire, believes we should all be embracing change - ”I am both a supporter and a sponsor of this excellent bill. Changing our clocks for lighter evenings would give a great boost to English tourist areas, like the East Riding. At a time of economic uncertainty, we should be embracing a change which will make the East coast more attractive to visitors.”
And Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, is the latest northern MP to commit to voting on 20 January. “I’ll be voting for the Daylight Saving Bill on January 20 because making evenings lighter will improve road safety and save lives. More afternoon and evening journeys will take place in the light which will prevent accidents” said Paul.
Is your MP going to be there to vote the Daylight Saving Bill through? Head to our easy-peasy lobbying tool to find out…