HOUSE OF COMMONS
Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation
DRAFT MOTOR VEHICLES (INTERNATIONAL CIRCULATION) (AMENDMENT) ORDER 1996
Tuesday 9 July 1996
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The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Chairman: Sir James Hill
Allen, Mr. Graham (Nottingham, North)
Betts, Mr. Clive (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, Mr. David (Eastleigh)
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
Corston, Ms Jean (Bristol, East)
Flynn, Mr. Paul (Newport, West)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr. Charles (Wimbledon)
Howell, Sir Ralph (Norfolk, North)
MacGregor, Mr. John (Norfolk, South)
McLoughlin, Mr. Patrick (West Derbyshire)
Marshall, Mr. David (Glasgow, Shettleston)
Mates, Mr. Michael (East Hampshire)
Norris, Mr. Steve (The Minister for Transport in London)
Pickles, Mr. Eric (Brentwood and Ongar)
Prentice, Mr. Gordon (Pendle)
Snape, Mr. Peter (West Bromwich, East)
Spring, Mr. Richard (Bury St. Edmunds)
Trickett, Mr. John (Hemsworth)
Mr. D. W. N. Doig Committee Clerk2 3 Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation Tuesday 9 July 1996
[SIR JAMES HILL in the Chair]
The Minister for Transport in London (Mr. Steve Norris): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) (Amendment) Order 1996. This is an uncontentious measure and I commend it to the Committee.
Mr. Graham Allen (Nottingham, North): I do not wish to detain the Committee for long. I have a question about driving licences, however, which is relevant. Recently in Committee we discussed the notification of driving bans. The Minister made some helpful remarks in response to that debate. Between times, the Council of Transport Ministers has met, so there has been an opportunity to raise the matter on the European stage. The Minister may have had internal or bilateral discussions with other member states. Has he made any progress?
Mr. Norris: The point raised by the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) is indeed relevant. Expressed in simple terms, a driver commits an offence in country A for which he is convicted and has his licence taken away but, on the evening of that day, the driver requests the return of his licence on the ground that he is about to return to country B, which is his normal place of residence, and then drives in country B, as if nothing had happened. The hon. Gentleman has previously recounted, as have other hon. Members, the sad circumstances in 4 which extremely serious driving offences have resulted in convicted motorists continuing to drive. Many people would suggest that they have treated the law with contempt. Such drivers present a significant road safety hazard. The merit of convictions in relation to motor vehicle law is that they dissuade and represent an attempt to protect the public from people who should not be driving. The hon. Gentleman asked a specific question about progress in the Council of Transport Ministers. Although I am grateful to him for mentioning that he would raise the matter today, I am not able to give a definitive response. However, I undertake to write to the hon. Gentleman and other members of the Committee, if the matter is of interest to them, to let them know the current position. It is a matter of genuine concern. The problem resides in the proposition that if we resolved to have a unified corpus of Community traffic law, it might obviate the need for the order—and, indeed, for many others—but it would clearly have policy implications for the Government and for other member states that might not be acceptable to the vast majority of motorists in those countries. The present arrangement is likely to revolve round a system of reporting convictions to other member states so that an offence committed in country A would be notified by the authorities in country A to the authorities in country B. It would be up to the authority in the host country to take whatever action it thought appropriate. That is the obvious route, when one considers that an offence committed in country A might attract a quite different penalty in country B—more or less severe as the occasion demands. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is a need to make progress. It is remiss of me not previously to have given him a more substantive update on the current position. I appreciate the point that he has made, and I shall write to him.
Question put and agreed to.
Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) (Amendment) Order 1996.
Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.
THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED TILE COMMITTEE:
Hill, Sir James (Chairman)
Chapman, Sir Sydney
Prentice, Mr. Gordon