We had quite a historical moment in the House of Commons a few days ago when a Private Members’ Bill proposing a rethink on setting our clocks in Winter and Summer got through its second reading and now progresses onto its committee stage.

This may sound boringly procedural, but in fact what it means is that Parliament at last has the chance to make a final decision on whether we should keep our clocks on permanent British Summer Time, rather than going back to GMT every Autumn.

The change would be of huge benefit to Londoners and would add greatly to the human happiness index. This would not mean actual extra daylight, of course, but rather, an extra hour of light in the afternoons when most people can make more use of it - as opposed to the morning when most people are getting up and going to work.
 
I was lucky enough to be called to speak in the debate and was able to make a number of observations:
 
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) says lighter evenings mean fewer accidents;
- the police say lighter evenings mean lower crime figures;
- environmentalists say lighter evenings mean lower energy use;
- the tourism industry, the hospitality industry, and the CBI say lighter evenings mean better business;
- sporting bodies, including Old Actonians in Ealing Central & Acton would get more time for sport – with all the benefits this brings.

Londoners would reap the rewards of all the above.
 
The purpose of this Bill, should it succeed in becoming Law, is to provide the first stepping stone in the process of change. It does not prescribe any particular outcome, what it does is to demand a commission to scrutinise fully the case for and against making the change. If, at the end of the scrutiny, the commission and Parliament feel the case has been made, then the country will have the chance of a three year trial.
 
My own preference would be for our clocks to stay set all year round on British Summer Time, partly because I get very tired of going round my home changing my clocks twice a year. I also prefer simplicity. Others think we should go onto double British Summer Time, giving us light right through to eleven o’clock, or even later, at the height of the summer months.

I am not sure how helpful that would be with problems like late night drinking. But the great benefit of the Bill is that all these options get put on the table for proper discussion, and that is why this Bill is such good news, because we get the chance to make our minds up, once and for all, based on a proper consideration of all the facts.