23/11/2011 06:18 GMT

Government Backs Clock-Change Move

The Government will support a Bill aimed at moving the clocks forward by an hour all year round if amendments are agreed, ministers have told the Commons.

The announcement came in a technical debate over whether the Government can give the green light to the spending of £750,000 on a detailed research project into the idea.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said it would be essential for all parts of the United Kingdom to agree to the change and said the Government would consult with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government opposed the Bill at second reading 11 months ago.

But Mr Prisk told the Commons: "I can now confirm the Government's intention to support the Bill on an amended basis."

He continued: "The House last debated the Bill on December 3 last year when, despite the Government's opposition, it passed its second reading.

"It is something we have thought about long and hard and, as the Prime Minister has said, it's an issue that needs consensus right across the country. The amendments seek to address our concerns, including the need for UK-wide consensus.

"Accordingly, the Secretary of State will be required to consult with the devolved administrations in Scotland and in Wales, and to obtain the consent of the devolved administration in Northern Ireland to any proposed trial.

"I would emphasise the Government would not look to introduce a trial if there was clear opposition from any part of the UK.

"A further amendment we propose is that the independent commission be changed to an independent oversight group whose role would be to advise the Secretary of State on the preparation of any report."