HC Deb 22 November 1926 vol 200 cc59-78

I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, after the word "sell," to insert the word "or."

This Clause has excited perhaps much less opposition than the following Clauses in the Bill, and I think it is partly due to the impression that this is merely a Clause to prevent fraud in the use of British names and British trade marks. Adequate protection is already provided under Section 16 of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, to protect, say, a Sheffield manufacturer from foreign goods pretending to be Sheffield made or using British names. It has given every satisfaction, and there have been effective prosecutions. What this Clause really aims at has come out in the course of the discussions in Committee it aims at something very much wider. It aims really at extensive infringement in the ordinary cause of trade and business. I gather that what is behind the Minister's mind is that some business man, wanting to advertise his goods, buys an article of foreign make. The example given, I think, by the President himself was the well-known Bass's beer, which goes in for a very elaborate system of advertising. It advertises by means of glasses, ash trays and various other articles which may be manufactured in England, or in order to push their goods abroad, may be manufactured in some foreign country. What I understand is in the Minister's mind is that the word "Bass" might appear on a foreign tumbler or ash-tray or some other article. That, he maintains, would be misleading the public. That is carrying the protection of British names rather far. I do not know if the right hon. Gentleman has heard of an institution called the Mustard Club. Possibly he is a member of it. It is organised in order to push a certain kind of mustard, the manufacturer of which, for purposes of advertisement, in the past gave away mustard pots which bore him name. That pot, I am informed, is often made abroad. No doubt the President of the Board of Trade would think that a great crime, but the trader, in order to push his wares, not only sends these articles all over this country, but to America, to the Continent and to our Dominions. Under this Clause it would be necessary, I assume, to stamp on the pot in large letters, "Manufactured in Germany," or whatever the country was. It is difficult enough at present to carry on trade without elaborate Regulations of this kind. There is no demand for this Regulation. There has been no public outcry. On the contrary, the more Chambers of Commerce realise what is in the Bill, the more opposition there is against it. When it is applied to articles that are given away by way of advertisement it is rather preposterous to interfere with their advertising character by requiring them to have stamped on them the country of origin, because it is not seriously suggested that- there is any attempt to defraud or mislead the public. If there were, that would come under the existing powers in the Act of 1887. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman wants smooth working for the Bill; if he does not want his life made burdensome to him by traders, these most unreasonable words should be removed and the Clause should be limited to articles offered for sale. If the Amendment be carried, I shall then ask the House to leave out the words "or distribute by way of advertisement."


I beg to second the Amendment.


It is true that very large numbers of these articles are distributed by way of advertisement, and a distinct hardship is inflicted on British trade. After an exhaustive examination of the subject in Committee, we decided that it would be well to retain the Clause as it stands. I received an advertisement myself the other day from the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers consisting of a pair of links. There is no earthly reason why there should not be a mark on cuff links if they are made abroad. We believe the Clause will meet a great want.


The Parliamentary Secretary cannot deal with the argument in favour of the Amendment in that summary way. There -is a good deal more in the words now proposed to be enacted than the hon. Member seems to suppose. The whole purpose of this Bill is not in any way to protect British industry against the foreigner, or to prevent the importation of foreign-made goods. Over and over again, all such intention has been disclaimed on behalf of the Government. The intention of the Bill is to prevent in any way, open or concealed, misrepresentation, so that the purchaser shall be able to tell whether he is actually purchasing foreign-made goods, Empire goods, or British homemade goods. The question is how far in attempting to protect and enlighten the innocent purchaser, who cannot be expected to know the processes of manufacture, we are interfering with business operations to the detriment of the British trader.

The Parliamentary Secretary seems to think that it is all on one side; that the words proposed to be left out will afford some protection to British industry. If he will consider the ease, I think he will see that the things which are distributed by way of advertisement do not really come within the ostensible intention of the Bill. Nobody would suggest that when a person receives one of these articles which are distributed in order to advertise a product, generally a, British product, he has any other impression than that the product which it is proposed to sell to him is the British product which is advertised on the article which he receives as a gift. Now, it is suggested in this Clause which the Government propose to enact that, if a British manufacturer wants to sell any commodity and he puts his name, or has his name put, on a particular article which he gives away by way of advertisement, although it is a British commodity which he proposes to sell, yet if he uses for the purpose of advertising that British product any article which is made in another country, he is to be condemned to mark the article "Made in Czechoslovakia," or something like that. That, really, would be a misrepresentation. For instance, if the consumer received an article by way of advertisement relating to the sale of, say, Bass's ale, and that article bears the words "Made in Czechoslovakia," the suggestion is that Bass's ale is made in that country.

Apparently, hon. Members opposite, including the hon. Member who has defended the Clause, think that it is wrong for a British manufacturer to purchase or use any of these foreign-made commodities for advertisement purposes, and it is desired to prevent him doing so. I do not think I am misrepresenting the Parliamentary Secretary in saying that he pointed out that when a British manufacturer actually used these foreign commodities for the purpose of advertising any article, he did some sort of injustice or wrong to British industry. Let us consider what that means. Take the case of a British manufacturer who has built up a large business which employs British labour, and in order to advertise his product, to gain a larger sale and employ more British labour, he makes use of some glass receptacle made in Czechoslovakia, or some other foreign-made article, on which he stamps his own name, or the name of his product. That is an indication that he wants the consumer to buy this particular product, which may be Bass's ale or some other article. If we pass the Bill without the Amendment proposed, that manufacturer will be committing an offence against the Act and his enterprise will be stopped. He will not be allowed to get that particular glass from Czechoslovakia, unless he has stamped upon it the words "Made in Czechoslovakia." If he does that, he is conveying a false impression, that "Made in Czechoslovakia" refers not to the glass but to the goods to which the glass relates. Some other maker of beer will be allowed to use glass made abroad, and stamp it with, say, "Pilsener Beer" or "Buy Pilsener Beer, the best beer," using the British language in order to deceive the consumer, if you like. There will be no offence if he uses such glass by way of advertisement in order to send it broadcast to every consumer in this country. He will be subject to no disability because he will not be using the name or trade-mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in the United Kingdom. I suppose there will not be, anyone of the name of Pilsener in the United Kingdom. Therefore, a foreign manufacturer will be able to use this method of advertisement freely, whereas a British manufacturer will not be able to use this method of advertisement, which practice has grown up, which is his own practice and which he has found to be convenient. Japanese vases, or glass made in Czechoslovakia, or some article made from paper, come to us in the course of the year in considerable number for the purpose of advertising British goods, made by British firms with British labour. We shall hamper that particular trade by this Clause, and, incidentally, we may enable foreign competitors, provided they do not happen to bear a name which is identical with the name of anybody in this country, to do the very thing which we shall have prevented Bass's or a cocoa manufacturer or the maker of numerous other articles from doing by way of advertisement. We shall hamper the proceedings of these British firms and possibly prevent them from doing it at all. What is the necessity of putting in these words: "by way of advertisement"? The ostensible intention was to make quite clear to the purchaser of an article that he was getting a British article, a foreign article, or an Empire-made article. The articles which are distributed by way of advertisement are not usually the articles which the consumer is asked to purchase. I do not know whether Messrs. Bass and Company use glass by way of advertisement in the way I have suggested. I am only putting it forward as an illustration, and in support of my contention that they would not be doing anything wrong either under the Merchandise Marks Act or any other Act, and they would not be doing anything for which they need blush, although under this Clause they might be doing something for which the Government would penalise them.

It is an unnecessary restriction, which is not justified by the intention of the Bill. Such a restriction will not do anything, as fax as I can make out, to promote the sale of the British articles which are advertised. It will actually place British manufacturers under a disadvantage, a disability compared with the Continental manufacturer or the American manufacturer, who may be dealing in the same article in which the British manufacturer deals, because they will be allowed to use this particular method of advertisement, by using some name which does not happen to be the name of anyone in this country. They will be allowed to use this particular advertisement media here without having to put on the article which advertises their goods the disfiguring mark, "Made in Czechoslovakia," or some other mark which would be misleading, because the article actually advertised would not have been made in Czechoslovakia.

4.0 p.m.

In Committee we were a very small minority struggling against overwhelming forces, and we did not get any adequate satisfaction. It is felt, also, by Members who did not have the opportunity of serving on the Committee that this is a matter of great importance. Many of us have received representations from business organisations up and down the country strongly objecting to this provision and unable to understand what it is for, unless indeed it be a naked attempt at Protection to give some sort of advantage to British as against foreign manufactures. As origiNally devised, this would have been equally penal in the case of coverings reels, labels, and so on, attached to articles, but I am glad to say that in consequence of the discussion in Committee the Sub-section on that point was limited so that it should nit apply to coverings, labels, reels, and things like that, provided that the British firm's name upon them had been put their at their own request and by their own consent. I submit that if these odds and ends, ordered abroad, made abroad, and imported with the express purpose of advertising British goods are ordered by the British manufacturer and have his name put upon them by his order and his direction, then that which has been done for labels, reels, and coverings ought also to be provided with regard to articles given away by way of advertisement.


I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade to say how he is going to deal with a case of this sort. As I understand it, the wrongful act is in using in this country an imported article for the purpose of advertisement. Let us take the illustration of a bottle of Bass mentioned by the last speaker. Supposing the Bass in this country is put into bottles made in Austria and that Bass's labels are put upon the bottles. The offending article there is the bottle. What is the punishment? There is nothing in the Clause, and therefore I suppose it is forfeiture. If you forfeit the bottle, what are you going to do with the beer? That really is the position. Here is a bottle of beer—not actually, but imaginary, I am sorry to say—the beer is made in Burton, the bottle, let us assume, was made in Czechoslovakia,, and the label on it is "Bass's Beer." That creates the offence. What is to be done? You are empowered only to deal with the bottle. You have no power to touch the unoffending beer. You forfeit the bottle. What are you going to do wits the beer? I put that case to the right hon. Gentleman.


I may be lacking in a sense of humour, but it does seem to me almost incredible, from the point of view of a person outside, that this House should propose in the next two or three days to discuss this Bill. There are still one or two people outside who understand that this Government was returned in order to try and make things better. With the number of unemployed up by nearly 500,000, with the number of people on the Guardians increased by about 50 per cent., and with the state of the country continually getting worse, that the Government at the present time can find nothing better to introduce than legislation of this character appears to me almost incredible. It is this sort of thing, and particularly speeches such as the Parliamentary Secretary delivered to us a few minutes ago—and I suppose we shall have similar ones—that is making this Government the laughing stock of the people of the country.


On a point of Order. What has this to do with the Amendment?


I imagined that the hon. Member's remarks were something in the nature of a preamble, and that he was about to come to the Amendment.


The hon. Member might have let me get my preamble in. The Parliamentary Secretary, in his reply to the Mover of the Amendment, said that the object of this Bill was to protect British manufacturers. I understood that the object was to protect the public against fraud and misrepresentation. The President of the Board of Trade has gone out of his way repeatedly to point out that the only object of the Bill was to protect the public or the consumer against fraud or misrepresentation. The hon. Gentleman has introduced another object this afternoon, namely, to protect the British manufacturer. The Government profess to be very anxious to protect the public against misdescription. Some of us wish that they were equally anxious to protect the public against profiteering. It seems to me that the suggestion in a proposal such as we are discussing is that you can fleece the public as much as you like, provided you tell them where the goods come from.

Let me give a very simple illustration. Take a large manufacturer of jam in this country who, in order to advertise his jam say at Christmas, distributes to his customers ornamental match-boxes which he gets abroad, either because the price suits him—and he is perfectly entitled to take that into consideration—or because he cannot get the particular kind of fancy match-box that he wants in this country. He buys a supply of these match-boxes in order to circulate them purely for advertising purposes. He does not sell them, but gives them away. Under this Clause, it will be necessary for him to have put upon the boxes the name of the country in which they had been made. The trouble is that he is using them for advertising his jam, and, when he puts on the match-box, "Buy so-and-so's jam," he also has to put on the bottom, "Made in Czechoslovakia." That is going to confuse the public, and I suggest that this sort of thing is not legislation, but mischievous interference.

Let me give a further example. I hold in my hand a little mirror, a quite common article, and it says, "Colman's Azure Blue." When this Bill becomes law, it will be impossible for this firm to give that little mirror away to their customers. They will have to have printed on it, "Made in Czechoslovakia" or whatever country it may be, or "foreign made," and it will read, "Colman's Azure Blue," "made in Czechoslovakia." What are the public going to think? I suggest, first of all, that there is no necessity for people doing this; and, secondly, I am perfectly sure, party politics apart, that everyone will agree that the sending out of an advertisement like that deceives nobody. If on an article like this advertising a British manufacture you have to put, "Made in Czechoslovakia" the public will be confused and will not understand what is the position at all.

Some of our British manufacturers have been trying their very best to maintain the trade of the country, and it seems to me that lately it has been the policy by using articles like this purely for advertising purposes to throw a foreign sprat in order to catch a British mackerel. The Government now say: "If you insist on fishing for trade by giving the public fancy little articles like this, we are going to do something which will raise the price of the articles you propose to give away, which will confuse the public, and which will discredit the article you propose to advertise." If hon. Members on the other side will get up and tell me bow that is going to improve our British trade and commerce, I shall be very pleased. An hon. Member on the other side, who very seldom takes part in debate, on the Second Reading used these significant words, and I am perfectly sure that the President of the Board of Trade will pay more attention to him than to myself: If the Government choose to make themselves ridiculous, we cannot help it. That seems to me to be the position particularly in regard to this provision. I could multiply the illustration which I have given by bringing 200 articles of the same sort. If somebody's jam is advertised on an article like this, nobody believes that the makers of the jam have manufactured this mirror. Nobody will get up and say that the inference from this advertisement is that Colman's manufactured this little mirror. Everybody knows that they did not. That is not their business. If a jam manufacturer gives away a matchbox, nobody believes that he has manufactured the match-box. He has merely given it away as an advertisement. The President of the Board of Trade has repeatedly said that this is a Bill to protect the consumer against misrepresentation. I invite him to get up and say where is the misrepresentation in giving away a mirror like this as an advertisement. Who is being deceived? Is the public deceived by the people who make Colman's blue? Is the public deceived into believing that the match-boxes are made by the jam manufacturer? If the President of the Board of Trade says that the object is to protect the public against fraud and misrepresentation, I say that this provision is only mischievous interference with business, is not called for, and is not going to do anything for British trade, but is going to hamper it.


I think the balance of convenience plainly lies in favour of retaining these words in the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) wishes to know whether he will find himself in jeopardy if he drinks Bass out of a bottle which has the label of the beer-maker but which itself is of foreign manufacture. I can assure him that not only will he be able to consume that bear with impunity but the vendor or maker of the beer will not be imperilled either. What does this Clause do? It says that if you send out with English goods some article by way of advertisement and stamp it elaborately with the name of a British firm, then if that article be not British you should say so. I do not think that is at all unreasonable. I thing a great many people receiving match-boxes with a British firm's name upon them would be of the impression, so far as they had an impression at all, that what they had got hold of was a British article.

If, instead of distributing free by way of advertisement, a firm sold these small articles with their names upon them then plainly under the words of the Clause they would have to mark the article as being of foreign manufacture, and it is only because these articles are distributed free instead of being sold that it is agreed that they should he exempt from the provisions of the Bill. I think the balance of convenience is plainly on the side of saying that they shall be marked. Hon. Members opposite have talked as if this proposal was an invention of the Board of Trade, but if any hon. Member opposite had been at the Board of Trade at any time he would have found that there are very grave complaints among manufacturers of all kinds of commodities at this wholesale distribution of goods, not manufactured in this country, which go out bearing upon them the name of some British firm. If we say that the goods are not to be sold as British, if they are not British, then logically their distribution by way of advertisement follows that decision, and accordingly the balance is entirely in favour of retaining the words.


The last words of the President of the Board of Trade raise the whole difficulty in this Amendment. He says that the Board of Trade have had repeated representations made to them against these articles being distributed by way of advertisement. That brings us to the question as to what is the purpose of this Bill. On the Second Reading, and also in Committee, whenever the right hon. Gentleman was faced with any difficulty his defence was that the purpose of the Measure was to disclose to the consumer the origin of the particular article they were purchasing. When we destroyed that argument, as we have this afternoon, then the President changes his ground and rests his case on the fact that representations have been made to the Board of Trade by the manufacturing interests. As a matter of fact, this Measure has been so altered in its construction since it was first introduced and its effects on trade are such that it is no longer a Bill to protect the consumer; it is openly a Measure to protect certain manufacturing interests in this country. If that is the ease then we claim that the more honest course would be to introduce a protective tariff so that the country might know exactly what the Government proposes to do, To introduce legislation of this description, under the guise that it is in the interests of the consumer, is reducing Parliamentary procedure to a very low standard.

Then again, what is the item of trade which is involved in the Amendment? Very large trading interests in this country have adapted the practice of distributing knick-knacks free to their customers, some little article which can be easily carried and which will continually remind them of the goods that are being placed on the market by the firm which distributes the article. The Amendment seeks, mainly, indeed solely, to remove these knick-knacks from the purpose of the Bill. Hon. Members opposite argue that these small articles do not represent a very large trading interest, but large trading interests are made up of a multitude of small articles, and this vexatious interference with trade must mean added expenditure to the large business interests of the country. In a large store a very large range of goods must be stocked, same very small, and perhaps not representing a large value in themselves, but they all have to he handled, and the more legislation we get of this description dealing with a multitude of articles of a negligible value in themselves but representing a good deal of expenditure in the aggregate the more difficulties you will put in the way of trade.

The argument of the Parliamentary Secretary this afternoon is typical of the whole way in which this Bill has been conceived. He appeared to have a grievance that a pair of cuff links had come into his possession through the post, and he imagines that if legislation can put a stop to that practice he is conferring a benefit on British trade. Every Member of this House has no doubt received representations from the trading community generally on this Bill. The Chambers of Commerce and various trading societies have done so, and on this subject they do not speak for Labour As a matter of fact, the political views of these bodies are not generally identical with those of the Labour party; their political conceptions are more in line with the views of hon. Members opposite, and yet these trading organisations are genuinely alarmed at this irritating Measure, this ill-conceived Measure, which the President of the Board of Trade has had to alter every time it has come up for consideration. If we could get this Bill adjourned for another three months it is more than probable that the right hon. Gentleman himself would come forward and propose the Amendment which is now under consideration. This happened time after time in Committee. The difficulties were pointed out, the President of the Board of Trade made a speech, similar to the one we have listened to this afternoon,

and then after a week's consideration saw the force of the argument which was put forward. I hope he will reconsider this matter and see whether he cannot meet what is a reasonable request.

Question put, "That the word 'or' be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 73; Noes, 211.

Division No 466.] AYES. [4.24 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Grundy, T. W. Potts, John S.
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Rose, Frank H.
Baker, J, (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Salter. Dr. Alfred
Baker, Walter Hardie, George D. Scrymgeour, E.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Harney, E. A. Scurr, John
Barnes, A. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barr, J. Hayday, Arthur Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Batey, Joseph Hayes, John Henry Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)
Briant, Frank Hirst, G. H. Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bromley, 1. Hore-Belisha, Leslie Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Charleton, H. C. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Cluse, W. S. Kelly, W. T. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Kennedy, T. Thurtle, Ernest
Compton, Joseph Lansbury, George Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Cove, W. G. Lawrence, Susan Wall head, Richard C.
Dalton, Hugh Lee, F. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lowth, T. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lunn, William Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Day, Colonel Harry MacNeill-Weir, L. Windsor, Walter
Dennison, R. March, S. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Duncan, C. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Naylor, T. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gardner, J. P. Owen, Major G. Sir Robert Hutchison and Mr. Percy Harris.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Paling, W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Ponsonby, Arthur
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cautley, Sir Henry S. Foxcroft, Captain C. T.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Fraser, Captain Ian
Albery, Irving James Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth.S.) Frece, Sir Walter de
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Galbraith, J. F. W.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Ganzoni, Sir John
Apsley, Lord Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.) Gates, Percy
Astor, Viscountess Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Atholl, Duchess of Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Goff, Sir Park
Balniel, Lord Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Grace, John
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Clayton, G. C. Graham, Frederick F. (Cumb'ld., N.)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Greene, W. p. Crawford
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Conway, Sir W. Martin Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Cope, Major William Gunston, Captain D. W.
Bennett A. J. Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Berry, Sir George Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)
Betterton, Henry B. Curzon, Captain Viscount Harrison, G. J. C.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Dalkeith, Earl of Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Blades, Sir George Rowland Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Blundell, F. N. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Haslam, Henry C.
Boothby, R. J. G. Davies, Dr. Vernon Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Dawson, Sir Philip Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Dean, Arthur Wellesley Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Brass, Captain W. Drewe, C. Herbert, S. (York, N. R.,Scar.& Wh'by)
Brassey, Sir Leonard Eden, Captain Anthony Hills, Major John Waller
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Edmondson, Major A. J. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J.G.
Briggs, J. Harold Ellis, R. G. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)
Brittain, Sir Harry Elveden, Viscount Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Buckingham, Sir H. Everard, W. Lindsay Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Bullock, Captain M. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Burton, Colonel H. W. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Hurd, Percy A.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Fielden, E. B. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Campbell, E. T. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Orsmby-Gore, Hon. William Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Penny, Frederick George Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
King, Captain Henry Douglas Perkins, Colonel E. K. Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Perring, Sir William George Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Knox, Sir Alfred Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Pilditch, Sir Philip Tinne, J. A.
Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Assheton Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Price, Major C. W. M. Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Loder, J. de V. Raine, W. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Looker, Herbert William Ramsden, E. Waddington, R.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Remer, J. R. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Remnant, Sir James Warrender, Sir Victor
MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Rentoul, G. S. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (1. of W.) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Wells, I. R.
Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Rice, Sir Frederick Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H
McLean, Major A. Richardson, Sir P. W.(Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Ropner, Major L. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
MacRobert, Alexander M. Rye, P. G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Wise, Sir Fredric
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Sandeman, A. Stewart Wolmer, Viscount
Malone, Major P. B. Sandon, Lord Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Meller, R. J. Savery, S. S. Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Meyer, Sir Frank Shaw, Capt. Walter (Wilts, Westb'y) Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Monsell, Eyres Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Smithers, Waldron Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Somervllie, A. A. (Windsor) Yerburgh, Major Robert D, T.
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Sprot, Sir Alexander TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Murchison, C. K. Stanley, Col. Hon, G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Captain Lord Stanley and Captain Margesson,
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.) Streatfield, Captain S. R.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, after the first word "any," to insert the word "imported."

This is purely a drafting Amendment.


This may be purely a drafting Amendment, but I wish to ask a question about the time limit. Subsection (5) says that the Clause is not to come into operation until the expiration of six months from the date of the passing of the Act. The rest of the Bill is full of elaborate provisions for giving the trader or manufacturer time to dispose of his stocks if they are in any way a contravention of the Bill when it becomes an Act. Does the Sub-section referred to relate to goods imported at any previous time to that laid down in the Clause? Under the Clause the trader is allowed six months in which to clear his stocks. Of course, in the case of the majority of foodstuffs stocks are all turned over within six months. But the Bill will apply to things other than foods. For instance, it will apply to imported ironmongery. I am told that the stocks in the ironmongers' shops are not turned over every six months, but are sometimes kept for two or three years. Does the Clause mean that it will be illegal, after this Bill has passed, for the ironmonger to go on offering for sale articles which he has imported long ago and has had in stock more than six months?

Could it not be said that there would be no offence committed if the trader concerned was able to convince the authorities or the Court that the goods were imported long before the Bill became law or was introduced? If that be not done, what is to happen to the goods? Are they to be destroyed or returned to the Continent in order to be remarked, or anything of that kind? There is nothing in the Clause to decide what is to be the fate of such goods. There should be a provision either making the Bill to apply only to goods imported by a certain date, or, if that is too dangerous, allowing it to be an excuse that the man selling the goods had bona fide got them long before the Act came into force.


I think a discussion on these lines now will prejudice an Amendment which is on the Paper in the name of one of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues, and it is an Amendment which I propose to select—in page 2, line 24, to leave out the word "six," and to insert instead thereof the word "twelve." The Amendment now under discussion is merely a drafting Amendment, and we had better get it out of the way first.

Amendment agreed to.


Before we take the next Amendment on the Paper, in the name of the President of the Board of Trade—[in page 1, line 10, after the word "trader," to insert the words, "or the name of any place or districts"] —we ought to take one which stands in the name of the right hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) and other hon. Members, or take together two Amendments standing in the right hon. Gentleman's name.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, after the word "trader," to insert the words "of or in similar goods."

This Clause will make it a penal offence to introduce from abroad goods which bear the name of any person in this country, not necessarily the name of any manufacturer of or trader in such goods in this country. It has not even to he a British name. For several hundred years, people in this country have borne names derived from every conceivable language— Norman and Flemish and Dane are we. People in this country bear German or Polish or Czechoslovakian names as well as purely British names. If any man outside this country bears the name of a person in this country—it may be the name of the manufacturer of an article; it may be Bernstein or Czeljewski, or any other queer name—and if he puts his own name on an article which is imported into this country, and if by chance one of the 44,000,000 inhabitants of this country happens to bear that name, that man is guilty of an offence under this Bill. That seems to be not only unnecessary but rather preposterous. It makes the operation of this Bill dependent upon a chance. It will be, perhaps, legal this year to import an article bearing the name of Czeljewski, because it may be shown that no person in this country bears that name; but next year there may be some person in this country bearing that name, and then it would be unlawful to import the article. That cannot be intended. Surely, what this Clause is intended to prevent is latent misrepresentation. Of course, if a person put on beer the name of "Bass" that would be misrepresentation, but if he put on the name of "Pilsener" that would be perfectly lawful, apparently, unless there is someone in this country bearing that name. The person hearing the name of "Pilsener" in this country might have no connection with beer at all, or he might be a rentier, not making anything at all. Even then, to import beer marked "Pilsener" would be unlawful. That is reducing legislation to a farce.

What must be intended is that it shall be unlawful to put on an article the name of any manufacturer of or trader in that article or similar articles in this country. It cannot be any inherent offence to put a name on an article, and simply because there happens to be someone in this country, not making that article, and not in trade at all, but it may be in receipt of an income from foreign bonds but living within these islands—it cannot be intended that it should he unlawful for anything bearing his name to enter this country. That is ridiculous. I suggest to the President of the Board of Trade that he would do all he aims at doing if he prohibited the importation of articles bearing the name of a trader or manufacturer "of or in similar goods." That gives protection against latent misrepresentation. I could have understood it if the right hon. Gentleman had prohibited the putting of a British name on an article. Possibly he was aware of the difficulty of defining what is a British name, and of giving protection to such of His Majesty's subjects as might not hear British names.


I am disappointed with the right hon Gentleman, because I have always thought of him as completely accurate. In the course of his short speech he has misquoted a familiar line of Tennyson, and, in addition, his geography has rather slipped from his mind, for the beverage to which he is so deeply attached, if I remember aright, is named after the place where it is manufactured, and not after the gentleman who makes it.


The place was called after the man.


Pilsener was called after the man? I cannot compete with my hon. Friend's liquid knowledge. I would not reject the Amendment if there were anything in it. But do not let us, in the hope of protecting Czeljewski, on whose behalf the right hon. Gentleman appealed to us, do some- thing which would make a very large hole in this Clause. The right hon. Gentleman wants to limit this provision to a name which is the name of an actual dealer or maker of a class of goods. The latent misrepresentation is not confined to that. What deceives a person, if he sees a label with a British name on a foreign article, is the fact that it is a British name. It is not that the ordinary buyer knows what firms deal in the article. He sees a name—John Jones, it may be—on an article, and he thinks that that is a British name, and that, therefore, the article is a British article. There is no need to put a name on these articles. All the Clause provides is that it shall not be lawful to sell goods without an indication of origin, if the seller chooses to put a name on the goods and the goods are in fact foreign—if it is the name of a British manufacturer, dealer or trader.


Would it not cover the name of any person in the British Isles?


The right hon. Gentleman is asking me to accept the Amendment which would perhaps exempt the unlikely case of Mr. Czeljewski. That is not a name likely to be put on these articles. The Amendment would, at the same time, open the door to any amount of evasion of the real purpose of the Clause, provided the British name selected was not the name of a manufacturer of those particular articles or a dealer in those particular articles. I think the Clause is watertight as it stands, and I do not think anybody would suffer injury by it.


I gathered just now that you, Sir, decided that the second Amendment on the Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade—after tile word "trader" to insert the words "or the name of any place or district" —should be taken in conjunction with the Amendment just moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb). I take it that we are to have a separate discussion upon the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade.


It is merely a question of the order in which the Amend- ments appear on the Paper. I altered the order because it would read better this way.


It is quite clear that this Bill is pure and unadulterated Protection without any of the advantages of a general tariff. Whatever the disadvantages of a general tariff, it might bring some revenue to a depleted Exchequer, but this particular proposal has nothing of that kiind in its favour; it merely adds to the consumer's cost without any benefit to the Treasury. It is assumed that some foreign country is to be prevented by this Clause from putting British names on their goods. It seems to be forgotten that we import a great many articles from our American cousins who use the same language and the same names as we do. Many American manufacturers are of British origin, and American titles and even place names are of British origin. There is an American London and an American Plymouth and many English names of towns are to be found in America. I am with the right hon. Gentleman in wishing to prevent the public being misled or deceived deliberately in these matters, but I maintain that there is adequate protection under existing Acts of Parliament. Under the Clause as at present worded, the life of the ordinary trader will be made impossible. My attention has been called to the large importation to this country of tinned fruit, meat and salmon from America. Traders in England have established a world-wide reputation by putting their brands on these goods and dealing in them. No doubt these are the sinners that the right hon. Gentleman is after, but the result of the system of the branding of these foreign goods by British merchants is that the British brands have a reputation not only in our own country but throughout the Empire and throughout the world. These traders make it their business to see that the goods are up to a certain standard of quality and their brands stand for purity and for satisfaction to the consumer. Under this Clause that trade will be made impossible and the British merchant can no longer deal in these goods and brand them with his own brand. The whole of that business will be transferred to America.

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