HC Deb 16 March 1905 vol 143 cc196-7
MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the practice of foreign gun makers of sending to this country gun barrels, gun actions, and complete guns for the purpose of having the English proof marks placed upon them, thereby concealing the foreign origin of the goods, and that these foreign guns, after being so marked, are sold at home and abroad as British-made arms, sometimes with English makers' names on them; and whether he will take steps in the interests of British gun-workers under the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887–1891, or by some other means, to put a stop to this practice.


The attention of the Board of Trade has been called to this matter, and they have stated that they are prepared if any specific case of infringement of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, with regard to the marking of foreign made guns is brought before them in accordance with their regulations under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1891, to consider carefully the question of instituting proceedings.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the majority of guardians who govern the proof house are men who import foreign guns in a more or less finished state, mark them with the British proof mark and sell them everywhere as British goods, although there is only a few shillings' worth of British labour in such goods and in some none at all? Will he make inquiry into this matter?


Do the Government themselves purchase from private firms any goods manufactured in this manner?


I cannot now answer the Question of the hon. Member for Woolwich. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Bordesly, I am aware of the general facts. The secretary of the association which represents the gun-workers has promised to furnish a specific case, and until that is done the Board cannot take any further action.