Client: The ‘Sunrise’ coalition, including the Communication Workers
Union, Strathclyde Regional Council and the Building Employers’
PR team: The Advocacy Partnership and, on behalf of the Communication
Workers Union, Lowe Bell Political and the CWU’s in-house team.
Campaign: Against the British Time (Extra Daylight) Bill.
Timing: November 23 1995 to January 19 1996.
Cost: Less than pounds 15,000, with Lowe Bell Political’s fees believed
to be around pounds 20,000.
The long-running campaign to introduce Central European time to the UK
rallied again last November when Conservative MP John Butterfill chose
it as the subject of a Private Member’s Bill.
The Daylight Extra group backed the campaign to move clocks forward an
hour in winter and an extra hour in summer, supported by APCO UK who
liaised with political media and lobbying and Charles Barker who co-
ordinated a consumer media campaign. Daylight Extra, whose supporters
included London First, the RAC, AA, the Police Federation, the CBI and
the Sports Council, argued change would cut road accidents, reduce
crime, benefit business, particularly tourism and leisure, and extend
The ‘Sunrise’ coalition, whose backers included CBI Scotland, the
Scottish Conservative Trade Unionists and fireworks manufacturers,
refuted these claims with conflicting research. It argued that change
would endanger early morning workers, such as builders and postal staff,
and would actually disadvantage all but southern England.
Sunrise aimed to prevent the bill achieving a second reading.
According to Private Member legislation rules, a bill can only move to
second reading if it gets 100 votes. The Sunrise coalition therefore
sought to prevent John Butterfill reaching the century by stirring up
feeling against the bill in Parliament, the media and the country.
Advocacy sent briefing letters to MPs, met with parliamentarians, held a
pre-second reading briefing session and established a five strong all-
party committee of MPs.
Lowe Bell Political’s tactics included sending New Year cards to all
MPs, featuring a weathered postman and a plea not to be left ‘in the
dark’, and the co-ordination of CWU spokespeople, on regional lines, to
target television networks and MPs’ surgeries.
Butterfill’s bill did not reach the critical 100 barrier, gaining 93
votes against 82.
Advocacy’s Paul Lynes called the result ‘a David versus Goliath victory’
which proved ‘effective lobbying campaigns can be run at a low cost as
long as they are well targeted’.
However, some lobbyists argued the ‘victory’ was due more to other
factors. Critically, the Government took the 130-plus ‘payroll’ of
ministers out of Daylight Extra’s grasp by advising them to abstain
while allowing the Scottish ministerial contingent to vote against the
Daylight Extra’s strengths were ironically seen to have worked against
it: both positive editorials in the quality press and Daylight Extra’s
strong London and business-backing served to support Sunrise’s claim
that it was another London-centred shot in the north-south divide.
The ‘defeat’ itself was also less than conclusive. Butterfill won the
greatest number of votes and the campaign gained a great deal of
publicity for the cause. Next time, particularly if the move is
introduced by a government, rather than by an individual MP, insiders
believe the result may be very different.