§ The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. David Mitchell)
I beg to move,That the draft Road Traffic (Car-sharing Arrangements) (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, which was laid before this House on 28 April, be approved.I make no apology to Northern Ireland Members for being on my feet for the second time in the same day. It is my pleasure to move the draft order. In a moment, I shall set out the legal interpretaton of the order, but first I shall describe in layman's language what it does. It is to enable people to give lifts in private cars to neighbours, friends and those with whom they work, to advertise that fact and thereby to save themselves substantial costs which they can share with their neighbours. It holds out the prospect of the saving of fuel and strain to those who drive constantly as commuters each day to gather with a group of three or four and take it in turns to drive their cars to work. It should also help to reduce traffic jams, which will be appreciated by many people in Belfast especially. Not least, it will enable people to conserve money.
Many people working in the factories or shipyards in Belfast will gather on a regular routine pattern to save the costs of petrol in travelling to work. Hon. Members will be interested that that provides an opportunity for enabling voluntary service, particularly in the rural areas and isolated villages, to help neighbours and pensioners by taking them to do their shopping without incurring difficultis with insurance and so on.
§ Mr. James Kilfedder (Down, North)
I understand that the response to the legislation that was introduced in England some time ago has been poor. I hope that there will be a better response in Northern Ireland.
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that one of the major problems in Northern Ireland in this respect is that insurance companies, with their bases in Britain, penalise motorists in Northern Ireland, so that it is very difficult for them to get insurance rates that are similar to those for motorists in the rest of Britain, leaving London out of account? The insurance companies are giving the Ulster motorist a raw deal. Something ought to be done. The knuckles of the insurance companies ought to be rapped severely for the way in which they penalise Ulster people. I appreciate that this is not particularly related to the point that the Minister mentioned, but perhaps he can help.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I am aware that the response in the rest of the United Kingdom has not been as great as I would have hoped. That is part of the reason for my setting out, in layman's language, what we are seeking to achieve in the order. I hope that it may be relayed in a wider sense in Northern Ireland and that hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies will seek to make widely known the advantages that the order will bring.
The hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) referred to insurance. I shall take the House through the legal interpretation of the order, and he will then see where that leads us. He wishes to see lower costs for insurance in Northern Ireland. I believe that that is a matter for competition, and if charges are too high that should encourage others to come in.
342 This is a short order with the sole purpose of allowing motorists in Northern Ireland, as they are already allowed in Great Britain by the Transport Act 1980, to give lifts in their private cars to passengers on a cost-sharing basis without contravening the public service vehicle licensing and road service licensing requirements of the Northern Ireland road traffic and transport law.
Basically, Northern Ireland road traffic and transport law provides that any motor vehicle used to carry passengers for hire or reward must comply with public service vehicle licensing and road service licensing requirements. Any payment made by a passenger would bring the vehicle within the scope of these requirements unless the conditions of the car-sharing order were satisfied.
I know that many people apart from the hon. Member for Down, North worry about insurance. The order does not change the law on insurance, and vehicles must still be properly insured for the use to which they are put. Normal car insurance will not be affected by taking payment under the car-sharing arrangements in the order. In future, there will be nothing to prevent car sharing being advertised, the advertisements being placed in a newpaper, on a works notice board or in a shop window or such place.
It is not a lengthy order, but perhaps I may go through some of the detailed provisions because it is important that they should be on the record.
Article 3(1)(a) modifies the definition of "public service vehicle" by excluding from the definition any vehicle used in accordance with the car-sharing arrangements in the order. Paragraph (1) of the new article 66A is an introduction to the circumstances in which a motor vehicle carrying passengers for payment is not to be regarded as a public service vehicle and complements, as it were, the modification of the definition of "public service vehicle" which I have just mentioned.
Paragraph (2) of article 66A contains the conditions to be fulfilled when a car is shared for payment. These conditions are, first, that the car cannot carry more than eight passengers; secondly, that the total payment does not exceed the vehicle's running costs for the journey, including an amount for depreciation, wear and tear; and that arrangements for payments are made before the journey begins.
"The running costs of the vehicle" means precisely the costs attributable to the vehicle, including an allowance for depreciation and general wear, and not costs in respect of any labour or profit element. The costs I have in mind are petrol, insurance, vehicle excise duty, servicing and repairs. So long as a driver restricts the amount that he receives from passengers to no more than the amount it costs him to run the vehicle, he will be all right.
§ Mr. Mitchell
Many people, I suspect, may agree simply to share petrol costs, and perhaps oil, servicing and repairs. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) asks how the driver will know the amount. Many people have a shrewd idea of what it costs to run their cars. Those who have any doubt are probably in many cases members of the AA or some other motoring organisation which will have detailed records of the costs for different sizes of vehicle. The information is available.
343 For example, the cost for a 1,600-cc car, including petrol, oil, servicing and repairs, would be about 10 pence a mile. For a 1,000-cc car, the cost of petrol last year was 3½ pence and oil, servicing and repairs 3½ pence. This year, the total is about 8 pence a mile. That give a broad indication of the costs for which the hon. Gentleman asks.
The condition that arrangements for payment are made before the journey begins is aimed at preventing private drivers from acting as amateur taxis—for example, picking up passengers at bus stops along the journey. Driving around looking for passengers on the offchance is not permitted
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)
Whereabouts in the order are the provisions which would prevent the driver driving around looking for passengers provided that in each case he obtained payment or made arrangement for the payment in advance?
§ Mr. Mitchell
It is not contained as such in the order, but it follows from the order. No one will find that it is worth while driving around seeking to pick up passengers as a business when he cannot make a profit. Those who run taxis are making a profit. While individual families may seek to give lifts to friends and to neighbours, the only person who would drive around seeking to pick up people at bus stops is someone seeking to make a profit. No one will seek to make a profit. Anyone who did would be breaching the terms of the order.
§ Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)
That is surely not logical following what the hon. Gentleman stated in response to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). Who sets the rate per mile? The Minister cannot do anything if a person says that the cost is 20p a mile rather than 10p a mile. What happens then?
§ Mr. Mitchell
The hon. Gentleman may not understand what I have already stated. One is not allowed to recover more than the cost of running the vehicle. There is no motivation to run a business, even a small taxi business, when one is not allowed to make a profit. If one makes a profit, one enters an area of tax problems and removes oneself from insurance protection.
Paragraph (3) makes clear that'payment' includes consideration of any kind, whether monetary or not.It would cover the case where money does not change hands but cars are pooled and driving and lift-giving cars are shared in turn with other car owners.
Article 3 (1)(c) of the order adds new paragraphs (3) and (4) to article 94 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, which covers the requirements under road traffic law for insurance against third party liability. The new paragraphs provide that in motor insurance policies or securities any restrictions on the use of a vehicle for social, domestic and pleasure purposes, or any exclusions in the use for hire, reward, business or commercial purposes, do not apply as regards a third party risk required to be covered by insurance when the vehicle is being used under the car-sharing provisions in the order.
Therefore, so far as the statutory insurance requirements are concerned, car sharers who comply with the provisions of the order will be covered by their insurance policies, with no risk of invalidating them because of any hire or reward exclusion in their policy.
Over and above these provisions, the motor insurers have agreed to extend to Northern Ireland the undertaking 344 that they have given for Great Britain in relation to car-sharing operations within the provisions of the Transport Act 1980. That undertaking operates not only in the limited sphere of third party liabilities required to be covered by insurance—that is, death or bodily injury to third parties, including passengers—but in relation to the whole cover provided by a full third party or comprehensive policy.
The net effect is that for the required third party liability the undertaking is reinforced by the new paragraphs (3) and (4) in article 3(1)(c) of the order. That should remove any concern by motorists about their insurance. I commend the order to the House.
§ Mr. Tom Pendry (Stalybridge and Hyde)
We do not intend to oppose the order. The Labour Administration pioneered experimental car-sharing schemes after the passage of the Transport Act 1978. Three years ago we were in favour of experimentation. We remain in favour. However, we have serious reservations about the order. My criticisms fall into two categories which arise from the Northern Ireland situation.
On many occasions the Labour Party has stated its firm commitment to public transport services. We regard them as being essential for viable life in towns, cities and rural areas. A single bus carrying 30 passengers is a more efficient form of transport than 20 or 30 cars with passengers. Public transport is a better environmental choice. It takes up less room, creates fewer fumes and results in fewer accidents.
However, there are serious financial and occasional organisational problems involved in public transport services, especially in rural areas. In theory, most will agree that car-sharing is a relatively efficient form of rural transport which draws on resources which are already available and operates only when there is a demand. Unfortunately, car-sharing experiments show that car-sharing arrangements are not the complete answer to the problem of rural transport. They represent a peripheral change but an inadequate and unsatisfactory attempt to meet the need of rural communities in particular.
We fear that formalised car-sharing arrangements might undermine the marginal services of the network operators and make it financially impossible for them to continue. Although we do not have any firm evidence that that will happen in Northern Ireland, we have the results of research in the "Yorkshire" car-sharing scheme in West Yorkshire published in Traffic and Engineering Control last January. The findings show that the majority of passengers in lift-giving arrangements previously travelled by bus. The survey concluded that the impact of such arrangements on public transport must be regarded as a cost rather than a benefit to the community.
On those grounds alone, I strongly recommend that the Government defer the order so that car-sharing experiments can be carried out in Northern Ireland and the effects on public transport assimilated. It could be argued that the order legalises existing arrangements, but that is no excuse for not taking a thorough look at how the arrangements could undermine the viability of the public transport system in Northern Ireland. Buses made unremunerative by the new arrangements may be withdrawn, never to return. Indeed, the ultimate outcome of such a policy will, in our opinion, be to ensure the deprivation of transport services to those who rely on them 345 most—the aged, the infirm, the poor and the young; the sections of society about which we should be most concerned.
I hardly need remind hon. Members that Northern Ireland has the highest incidence of poverty of any region in the United Kingdom and that one-third of the families in the Province live below the poverty line. If marginally profitable public transport services are made unviable by an increase in car sharing arrangements, those people will stand to suffer most, particularly since few will have access to private cars in their neighbourhoods.
In view of the potentially damaging effects of the order, I ask the Minister, if he will not withdraw it, to keep a close eye on the effect of car-sharing arrangements on public transport and to ensure that they supplement, rather than act against, existing services.
The order may impinge not only on rural public transport services, but on urban services. Hon. Members, especially those who represent Northern Ireland constituencies, know that passenger transport in Belfast, in particular, involves special problems. Reference has already been made to the infamous black taxis in North and West Belfast which carry passengers at a premium to places where public transport will not go. They have been legalised. The high cost of insurance which was thought to be a deterrent to them has not undermined those services. Has the Minister considered whether the order will lead to the setting up of a rival maverick transport system, not in black taxis, but in another type of vehicle?
The order provides that car-sharing arrangements are not to be undertaken for profit. Such a rule will have to be rigorously enforced if it is not to be broken frequently. The Minister's reply to the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) was less than convincing. Perhaps he will give us a clearer picture of his view when he replies to the debate.
It is our duty to protect people from exploitation. If the public, especially in sensitive areas in Northern Ireland, are given no alternative form of transport to a car-ferrying service, they may pay the price demanded and keep quiet. Further, we shall have no control over the funds raised and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that money raised through exploiting car-sharing arrangements could end up in irresponsible hands. Perhaps the Minister will aslo reply to that serious point.
The Opposition would like to have seen a more thorough investigation into public transport and the needs of the community in Northern Ireland before the order was brought before the House. Car-sharing and other low-cost schemes may play a useful role in certain circumstances, such as where there is no public transport, but they cannot offer a real alternative to scheduled services.
In particular, blanket legislation for such arrangements in Northern Ireland could have serious consequences in politically sensitive areas. I urge the Minister to look at the matter urgently. I hope that he will reply to the points that I have raised and will seriously consider not proceeding with the order.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)
My hon. Friends and I do not take quite so jaundiced a view of the order as was expressed by the hon. Member of Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry). We were somewhat puzzled at the 346 credit which he took to the former Administration for the 1978 Act in Great Britain, which did not seem entirely consistent with the criticisms which he had to offer. Nor is it easy to see how the experiment with car-sharing which he urged should be conducted in Northern Ireland could be conducted—lawfully at any rate—unless legislation of this sort was available.
On the face of it, this provision, both in Great Britain and now in Northern Ireland, seems to be a modest but not unreasonable response to modern conditions, particularly in view of the relatively high price of fuel and the diminishing availability, in any case, of public transport in remote and rural areas.
The Minister mentioned that the experience in Great Britain had been less encouraging than had been anticipated. I was a little disappointed that, after nine months' operation of the scheme in Great Britain, it was not possible for him, for the benefit of the House tonight, to obtain from the Ministry of Transport something more specific as to the volume which had been expected and the volume which, in fact, had been experienced in the last nine months.
Whatever is on the face of it, there may seem to be many opportunities for availing ourselves of the facilities which are legalised by these provisions. There is always the consideration of convenience, which often outweighs the apparent economy of car sharing. In judging the growth of road transport, we probably underestimate the convenience of being able to make a particular journey at a particular time and on one's own terms.
Moreover, the legislation does not make it possible for cars to be shared or for voluntaryy efforts to be made to assist the the elderly or the disabled in shopping or getting to entertainment; car owners can do that already, provided they do not charge for it. It enables the cost to be recovered, not on a tit-for-tat basis, but on a direct basis as between the owner of the car and those availing themselves of the sharing. Therefore, perhaps, in retrospect, it is not surprising that the usage in Great Britain has been less than had been anticipated.
There is one practical issue in the order which causes some anxiety: who will police the conditions? That is a matter of some importance because upon the fulfilment of the conditions depends the legality of the insurance cover, let alone the availabilty of the insurance cover. One can imagine circumstances in which the question whether the sum paid did or did not contain an element attributable to profit could be used to invalidate insurance to destroy a claim or even to create a breach of the law.
There is some difficulty in legalising the practice when the conditions under which it is legalised are so difficult to verify, both by the rest of the public and by those who are availing themselves of the facility and even by the person who is providing it. The Minister made some reference to sources from which flat-rate information bearing upon the cost of running a car could be obtained. But it would not be the flat-rate information under the terms of the order which would be relevant, but the actual cost of running and maintaining the car and the way in which it was run and maintained. Although a great many of those anxieties may not be practical in the majority of cases, there could be a small minority—the marginal instance—in which they could have great importance. The Minister should do more to satisfy the House about the 347 way in which his Department intends to exercise surveillance over car-sharing schemes and over the sums charged.
As the Minister said, the order applies to Northern Ireland provisions that have been available on the mainland in part since 1978 but in full since 1980. They came into force at the beginning of October 1980. My hon. Friends and I want to make a strong protect about the fact that the provisions for Northern Ireland have had to wait until now, and that there has been so big a gap between the facility being available on the mainland and its being available in Northern Ireland. According to article 1, the order comes into forceone month from the day on which it is made".If it is made shortly after this debate, it will not come into force until the end of July. There will be a 10-month gap between the availability of the facilities in Great Britain—which were accompanied with great national publicity when they were introduced—and their availability in Northern Ireland. That is undesirable on general grounds. It is also undesirable because people in Northern Ireland have been misled into supposing that they were covered in the way that they read in the national news when in fact they were not.
That was not a point that we failed to bring to the attention of the Minister's predecessor, to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) wrote as long ago as last July. In September the Minister's predecessor produced a folio letter explaining why it was not possible to apply the Great Britain provisions at about the same time on Northern Ireland. He said:The direct extension of the Great Britain provisions to Northern Ireland would have been inappropriate as the basic Northern Ireland licensing code and its definitions vary in several respects from that applying in Great Britain.That might be impressive if we did not have the order in front of us. Apparently, those immense differences of detail between the provisions applying in Northern Ireland and those applying in Great Britain are not so great that they cannot be dealt with on slightly more than one page of an order. I defy anyone to say that an Act of Parliament would be so overloaded as to have the water above the gunwale if it had included the two sections—it might have been even one section—which would have been necessary for its application to Northern Ireland. But, no, the whole thing was not to proceed at that pace.
In September it was decided that a Northern Ireland order would not only be necessary, but could be combined with other transport matters in a miscellaneous provisions transport order. Three months' further reflection led to a different conclusion. In December a greater sense of urgency prevailed in the Department. It was decided not to wait for the miscellaneous provisions but to go ahead immediately with a separate order to bring the facilities into force in Northern Ireland. Accordingly, the proposals for a draft order were issued with a consultation period that expired on 6 February. Despite the Minister's predecessor's expectation that he would lay the draft order in March, it was not laid until the end of April, and we are debating it at the end of June.
That is nonsense. When the legislation was passing in Great Britain, it was perfectly well known, or it should have been, that there was no reason to exclude Northern Ireland from its operations. There must be some communication between the Northern Ireland Office and the relevant Departments in Great Britain. There would 348 therefore have been no possible difficulty in excogitating the two substantive articles that are before the House so that a Northern Ireland Order could have been laid, if not simultaneously with the Royal Assent to the Great Britain legislation, at any rate shortly afterwards, so that there need have been no interval, or scarcely more than a month, in the operation in both parts of the Kingdom.
I begin to suspect that this type of argument, which has been deployed with tedious iteration in these debates, has begun to have some impression both upon the managers of Government business and upon the Northern Ireland Office, and possibly even upon the parliamentary draftsmen's department. Unless one is mistaken, an increasing amount of legislation in this Session is being introduced, as it should be, on a United Kingdom basis, so that all hon, Members can play a part in determining both the policy and the form of the legislation.
I hope that the order is a late trailer and that we shall have few, if any, further examples of the entirely unnecessary delay that this order represents in applying legislation to Northern Ireland, where by general admission if these provisions are useful at all they will be of public utility. I hope that we shall not see a repetition of that delay and that this debate will have served its purpose in reminding the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland departments, if they still need reminding, that when there is Great Britain legislation in preparation, or going through Parliament, they should be considering how to ensure that whatever application there is to Northern Ireland takes place as nearly as possible at the same time as well as in the same effective form.
§ 11.3 pm
§ Mr. David Mitchell
The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) said that the Opposition gave general support to the concept. He seemed to be taking some pride in parenthood for the origin of the idea. However, he hastily claimed that the child was a bastard and that he did not want anything to do with it. It is rather difficult for him to back both horses at the same time. However, it may be his skill in so doing that finds him on the Opposition Front Bench.
I understand that the hon. Gentleman favours public transport as a concept and fears that the order will eat away at the viability of public transport. He referred to surveys that have been carried out in Yorkshire. The majority of people do not live on a public transport route. In rural areas, many people have to travel quite a long way to reach a bus stop. The order will provide a feeder service so that there is a counter to the potential disadvantages to which he referred.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the order is not a complete answer to the problems experienced by those in rural areas. However, I do not take such a gloomy view about its effect on public transport operators. The hon. Gentleman asked me specifically, if we are not prepared to withdraw the order, which we are not, to keep under review its operation, especially the potential for abuse by what are known as black taxis and the like. I readily give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. We will keep the matter under review and shall be grateful to learn of any indications of abuse that conic to his attention.
§ Mr. Pendry
I am grateful, but I also asked that the effect on public transport should be kept under review.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I assure the hon. Gentleman that, since public transport in the Province comes under my Department, I have a vested interest in so doing.
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) regrets that there are no statistics on car sharing in Great Britain in the past 12 months. Car sharing involves a series of ad hoc arrangements with friends, neighbours, people at work and members of one's cricket club or pub, so it is not by its nature capable of being statistically recorded. I hope that I have not misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell
How, then, was the Minister able to say that utilisation in Great Britain was less than expected?
§ Mr. Mitchell
We have a general feeling that the use has not been as widespread as anticipated. The right hon. Gentleman will have observed the recent correspondence in The Times, which gives a balanced view. My hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Transport dealt admirably with the matter.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman shares my wish that in a free society we shall not have statistical questionaires on how many lifts people give to friends and neighbours.
The right hon. Gentleman raised the important question of who will police the scheme. That consideration also applies to the existing circumstances. Why was there restraint in the past on people doing what they will now be able to do under the order? Had they done such things, they would have invalidated their insurance policies and brought themselves into the category of requiring a public service vehicle licence, so the practice was self-policing. Those who breach the order will find themselves in breach of the same regulations.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell
Yes, but previously a mere matter of payment was sufficient to trigger the disabilities, whereas now it is the amount of the payment and the composition of the amounts that add up to that payment that makes the difference between applicability and non-applicability of the provision. There is a big difference in policing and ascertainment in the two cases.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I hesitate to disagree with the right hon. Gentleman, but it is a powerful self-policing mechanism. If somebody charges more, he will put himself outside the protection of the order. He would put himself into the hire business by setting out to make a profit. It has been said that servicing costs differ from one car to another, and no one will worry about ½p a mile. We are concerned with the person who deliberately sets out to use his vehicle for hire. In that circumstance, he would lose the protection of the order and put himself into all the disabilities that he would have been in had he made a charge under the previous arrangements.
§ Mr. Peter Robinson
The Minister has not explained how the order will be enforced. We come back to the 10p and 20p argument. How will the authorities find out whether someone is charging 20p? Will the Royal Ulster Constabulary make checks, or what will happen?
§ Mr. Mitchell
As I have already tried to explain, the order gives protection in certain circumstances. Those who breach the order are at risk. That has always been true. There has been nothing in the past to prevent private individuals from charging their neighbours for taking them 350 to work, except that if in so doing they breached the protection given under the existing regulations they would have been liable, first, with regard to the public service vehicle licence legislation and, secondly, they would have invalidated their insurance. Most of us as drivers would not risk invalidating our insurance because of the enormous liabilities which follow from that.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
I thought that the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) was making the point about who will decide what is a fair price for the journey. Who will decide that one car costs more than another? Who will bring in the verdict that one driver can charge only £X or whatever it may be for the journey while another may charge more?
§ Mr. Mitchell
I hesitate to say that we are splitting hairs or splitting halfpences. If one is worrying about whether it costs 8p or 8½p per mile, nobody will contravene the law for ½p per mile. The only way in which people might deliberately contravene the law would be to make a profit, which would clearly be substantially different from the running costs of the car.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Surely the Minister is not facing the issue. If one car driver decides to charge a certain amount and another decides to charge less, who will make the decision that one is not charging enough or that the other, by charging more, is putting himself outside the terms of the order?
§ Mr. Mitchell
I am sorry if my earlier explanation did not satisfy the hon. Gentleman. I make the point quite clearly, as I made it earlier, that it is simply a matter of self-policing. If somebody charges too much, he will run the risk of invalidating his insurance policy. If that is not a major disincentive, I shall be exceedingly surprised.
The right hon. Member for Down, South referred to the delay in bringing forward the order and the fact that the miscellaneous provisions order had not been brought forward as originally intended and that this order had been brought forward in advance of it. I was not a Minister at the Northern Ireland Office at the time. My understanding is that this was to meet the representations of hon. Members from Northern Ireland that we should bring it forward as quickly as we could, but the decision was taken before I arrived in the Northern Ireland Office.
Having said that, I fully appreciate and understand the point that the right hon. Gentleman makes about the benefit that he sees in basic United Kingdom Bills covering not only Great Britain but Northern Ireland as well. He sees advantages both in timing and in the opportunities for participation by Members for Northern Ireland constituencies in the main Great Britain debate in Westminster. He also sees a series of constitutional advantages in principle. Matters of constitutional change are matters for the Secretary of State, but I undertake to bring the right hon. Gentleman's views to the attention of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)
Would not the Minister concede that there is a further advantage? That is the advantage to the business managers of the House, and perhaps more importantly to the Patronage Secretary, who would be relieved of what I imagine is the unpopular responsibility of having to keep a great many of the hon. Gentleman's colleagues here for an hour and a half, which would be unnecessary if the matter were dealt with in the ordinary Great Britain Legislation.
§ Mr. Mitchell
It is clear that there are special problems where a Bill, because the corpus of legislation in Northern Ireland is different, requires substantial extension. However, I take the point made by the hon. Gentleman and by the right hon. Member for Down, South to the effect that in this case there was little addition. I shall draw that matter to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. The point has been clearly illustrated.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That the draft Road Traffic (Car-sharing Arrangements) (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, which was laid before this House on 28 April, be approved.