The bill has been in the works for 10 years, but earlier this year it was defeated in the House of Lords.
The Lords did not want to agree to exclude prisons, police cells and psychiatric hospitals from the bill and sent it back to the Commons, where it now still languishes.
The Home Office is struggling to find a compromise, as the ‘hangover bill’ – a remnant of a former parliamentary session – will die if it is not approved by July 17. Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe is proposing that police cells should be subject to the legislation, but not prisons or psychiatric hospitals.
A Home Office spokesman told Fleet News: ‘The Home Secretary John Reid is discussing the way forward with the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. We’re against the clock, but we’re not speculating on what the solution might be.’
A spokesman for the fleet operators’ association ACFO, said the situation was ‘deeply regrettable’. ‘Fleets need to know where they stand. This uncertainty is unhelpful, completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable to the fleet community.’