The proposal to set clocks forward one hour throughout the year in the UK almost reached the statute book following publication of the Home Office’s Consultation Paper Summer Time in December 1989. The electoral fears of both the Conservative party and Labour party about the impact on the Scottish vote were widely acknowledged to be the stumbling block. SDST – Single Double Summer Time, as it was termed – was also the subject of an unsuccessful Private Member’s Bill of John Butterfill in 1996.
In 2006, Tim Yeo MP put forward the Energy Saving Daylight Bill (Bill 18 of 2006-7), which would result in advance time in England throughout the year by one extra hour for an experimental period of three years from October 2008 to October 2011. Although this bill was not successful, the Conservatives pledged to make the policy part of their manifesto for the next election.
Since then, several MPs have introduced Private Members Bills in the House of Commons with the aim of putting clocks one hour forward in both summer and winter. All have failed, principally owing to the absence of government time and to concerns about the likely effect on the Scottish vote. The most recent PMB on the subject was taken forward in 2012 to its Second Reading by Rebecca Harris MP, but was then “talked out” by two Conservative MPs thereby preventing it going further.
In spite of a challenge from some European lobbies, the summertime clock regime across all Member States of the European Community, and indeed of all other European countries, has been maintained and there appears to be no likelihood of it being abandoned in the foreseeable future.