Daylight saving: Boris wants No 10 to call Scotland’s bluff

By Alex Stevenson

Downing Street should call the Scots' bluff over their expected opposition to a proposed time zone shift, Boris Johnson has said.

The mayor of London said that No 10 needed "a bit more guts and determination" after officials moved quickly to downplay expectations about the potential change.

Last Friday saw Vince Cable's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announce it was "minded to support" Tory MP Rebecca Harris' private member's bill calling for a review on the issue.

The proposed review would assess the benefits of permanently moving Britain's clocks forward to GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer, meaning the sun rises and sets an hour later than at present.

This would boost tourism, reduce the number of road accidents and encourage more evening physical exercise, according to the Lighter Later campaign.

But it would mean the sun would rise as late as 09:40 on the darkest day of the year in Edinburgh, leading to expectations that the Scottish government – which has an effective veto on the issue – would scupper the proposals.

Right-wing commentators appalled by the idea of moving to 'Berlin time' have added a eurosceptic slant to opposition to the move. A No 10 source was reported over the weekend as saying that the proposal was effectively "dead in the water" as a result.

London mayor Mr Johnson called on ministers to reassess the issue in an article for the Telegraph newspaper.

"We can't let the Scottish tail wag the British bulldog – and especially not when the change would be in the interests of the Scots themselves," he wrote/

"If it is really true that the whole thing depends on Scottish approval, then it is time to call their bluff. There is no reason at all why a nation should have the same time zone."

Mr Johnson said the boost to the economy from the change, up to £720 million, was "a lot of money and a lot of jobs in tough times".

He suggested lighter evenings would lead to a fall in crime and rejected the eurosceptic line, saying moving to the same time zone as Britain's biggest trading could only be in the economy's interest.

The London mayor concluded: "If the Scots really want to stay in bed for an extra hour, while the rest of us are up and about, then that is their look-out. Let Salmond and co stick to their crepuscular timetable. I reckon they would soon work out what they are missing."