§ MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the fact that the brushmakers in Great Britain and Ireland complain that their trade is injured and almost paralysed by the enormous importation of brushes made by convicts in German gaols; whether he is aware that these brushes are not allowed to be sold in Germany within a stated distance of the prison in which they are produced; and whether the Government will take any measures to prevent native artisans and manufacturers being ruined by the product of foreign criminals. I should also like to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the fact that a petition has 288 been presented from the employés of the North Dublin Brush Company, containing 150 signatures, praying for the prohibition of the importation of manufactured goods produced wholly or in part by convict labour in foreign countries?
§ MR. BRYCE
I was not aware of the fact that the petition had been presented. I am aware that some disquietude has existed among the brushmakers owing to an apprehension that their trade may suffer from the importation of German prison-made brushes, but a reference to the Blue Book recently published shows that the quantity of brushes made in German prisons is small, nor is there anything to show what portion of these brushes are imported to this country.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he proposes to take in view of the facts officially reported by Her Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin, on authentic information derived from the Imperial German Government, that over 44,000 German convicts and felons are compelled to work at nominal wages at sixteen British staple trades, and that the sale of their productions is prohibited in the local prison district; and, if he proposes to give effect to the unanimous vote of the Trades Union Congress against the importation of goods so made, supported by the resolutions of numerous public meetings and the Petitions to Parliament of various National industries?
§ MR. BRYCE
The facts reported by Her Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin do not appear to me to support the view of the hon. Member; but on the contrary to show that the quantity of goods produced in any particular trade is comparatively small, nor is there anything to show that any considerable proportion of the goods manufactured reaches this country. There does not therefore appear to be, so far as these Reports are concerned, any case for taking any steps.
§ MR. CYRIL J. S. DODD (Essex, Maldon)
Is it not the fact that these brushes are not allowed to be sold in Germany within a certain distance of the prison in which they are produced? and, if that is the law, how it became so?