Martlew helmet Bill fails - Bike Magic

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Martlew helmet Bill fails

Eric Martlew MPs Protective Headgear for Young Cyclists Bill failed to become law after its second reading in Parliament on Friday. In fact, it didn’t even get to a vote – after a couple of hours of debate, Conservative MP Eric Forth moved that the House sit in private, a common tactic to postpone matters. The House has to vote whether to move to private session, and with only a couple of dozen MPs in attendance there weren’t actually enough for the vote to count, so the Deputy Speaker deemed the question to be undecided – the Bill gets another stab at the statute books on June 18, although it’s likely to be somewhat later in the running order and the House might not even get around to it.

The next Bill to be read was the Constitution for the European Union (Referendum) Bill, a Bill that Government whips weren’t crazy about getting too much time in the House. The longer the helmet debate went on, the shorter the EU debate would be. But Forth clearly wasn’t having any of that…

The debate itself gives some interesting insights into how politics works and it’s worth a read if you’ve got a few spare minutes – the transcript is available online. The eagle-eyed will note that this very site gets a mention – so if you contributed to the various forum threads on the topic you played a small part in the debate.

The upshot of it all is that both sides now have a few more weeks to sharpen their statistics and lobby politicians. Mr Martlew is trying to form an all-party working group on bike helmets, while the various opposing organisations will be consolidating their message. It seems likely, though, that the main message the Government will have got from the debate is that helmet legislation is a considerably more contentious issue than they thought and as such it’s fairly unlikely to come up for discussion again any time soon…


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