HC Deb 05 December 1927 vol 211 cc1129-48

I beg to move, That a humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying that the draft Order in Council presented on the 8th day of November, 1927, made by the President of the Board of Trade, and entitled the Merchandise Marks (Sale of Imported Goods) (No. 1) Order, 1927 (16 and 17 Geo. V., c. 53, s. 7), be annulled. I have to apologise to hon. Members for keeping them a little late to-night. I can only say in extenuation of the circumstances in which I find myself that I have been postponing this Prayer for many nights to suit the convenience of certain hon. Members. It is very much to be regretted that important trades should find themselves liable to prosecution as a result of the statutory effect of an Order-in-Council, for which we have very little opportunity for Debate. Our only means is to move a Prayer of this kind, and it can only be moved at Eleven o'clock. But that ought not to prevent us from giving a short time to the consideration of some of the difficulties that arise. We have on the Table of the House the first draft Order-in-Council made under the Merchandise Marks Act for 1926, and in it we have Orders made for no fewer than eight separate trades, gold and silver leaf, woven labels, wire netting and woven wire, mill bobbins, felt hats and felt hat hoods, iron and steel wire and wire nails and staples, metal fittings, and tyres and tubes. Statutory conditions are laid upon all these trades with all the effect of a Statute passed after Debate in the House of Commons;. I ask the House to carry a Motion for the annulment of the Order, first, because I submit that the marking provisions will hamper the trade of the country and will involve an extraordinary amount of additional delay at the ports, very serious indeed for the trades concerned. They will involve increased productive costs because of the additional labour required, and they will undoubtedly in some instances: raise the price to the consumer. It does not appear from the Report of the Committee which has been inquiring into these trades that in fact the Order is necessary in the interests of consumers.

I cannot hope in the short time that I want to take to deal with all the trades that are covered in the Order, but I want to take one or two specific instances. First of all, I take the case of rubber tyres and tubes. I consider from the Report that no evidencee was really submitted to the Committee to show that there exists at present any confusion in the public mind regarding the actual origin of the tyres. In fact, the Committee reported that the evidence indicated that the great bulk of imported motor and motor cycle covers and tubes were already branded with the name or mark of the makers, and it was admitted that there was little or no market in the United Kingdom for such covers and tubes unless they were branded. I am certain the large number of hon. Members opposite who are experienced in buying covers and tubes for their motors know that there is not the slightest confusion in their minds as to what is and what is not a British tyre. The Committee also said: Most of the overseas manufacturers, whose products are imported into the United Kingdom, are represented here by British subsidiary companies, and it is probable that under Section 11 of the Act, as well as under Section 16 of the Government Order, the great majority of the abovementioned descriptions are already subject to the obligation to be marked with an indication of origin. From that point of view, therefore, I submit, that there was no case for the making of the Order, and I suggest that it is extraordinarily difficult for Members of Parliament to exercise a proper judgment on an Order of this kind, which is to have statutory effect on traders, when we have only had a summary Report of the Committee on all the voluminous evidence which has been presented in respect of each of these trades. There is a point to which I want especially to direct the notice of the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade, who, I understand, is going to reply, and that is the effect of the Order with regard to advertising. I remember when we were discussing in Committee the Act under which this Order was made we had very long Debates in trying to persuade the President of the Board of Trade to a better frame of mind with regard to the difficulties which must come upon the trade in regard to advertising. The Act does not require an Order to be made merely for the marking of imported goods. It requires indications of the countries of origin in all advertisements and offers for sale. Because of the multitudinous ways in which the goods have to be advertised and offered it is extraordinarily difficult for traders to comply with such conditions as these.

I want to submit to-night that in the case of tyres quite an anomalous position arises, although I think this might also be applied to other commodities as well. Let me take the case of the Michelin Motor Tyre Company, or the Goodyear Tyre Company, or the Firestone Tyre Company, who are not only manufacturing tyres in other countries but are manufacturing them in this country as well. [Interruption.] I must accept the correction of the Noble Lord. There is a distinction between two of the companies and the Firestone Company. I do not want to prolong stating the case, but where they have more than one company, apparently, you. are to require these people in all their advertisements to indicate that the tyres are not only manufactured in this country but manufactured in all the other countries as well, and in all offers of sale as well as advertisements. When one remembers the variety of ways in which firms at present advertise their goods, you can understand the difficulty. I have seen, for example, motor cars advertised by means of a novel and wonderful device on the overalls of a motor mechanic. Apparently, it would be an offence under the Order-in-Council for a motor mechanic to wear a special suit of overalls on which there was an advertisement unless also there was, on his back, an indication that the tyres he represented were made not only in England, but in Canada, the United States of America, or in France, or wherever it might be. We may possibly see some poor unoffending mechanic being hauled off to explain why he is carrying about with him an advertisement of goods which is apparently a contravention of the law.


Is it worth while following employment as a mechanic in that manner?


I quite agree. I do not want to see that special type of advertising followed. I am only using that to show the extreme difficulty, not-only in that case but in many other forms of advertising, of complying with that particular Order. Once an Order has been made, Section 5 of the Act comes automatically into force. Let me read Sub-section (2) of that Section: If any person advertises or offers for sale as being goods of a particular brand or make or otherwise under a specific designation, whether by means of an illustration or by means of any written matter, any imported goods of a class or description to which an Order-in-Council under this Act applies, he shall, if he docs not include in the advertisement or offer an indication of the origin of the goods, and subject to the provisions of this Section, be deemed to have acted in contravention of an Order-in-Council made under this Act.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

Will the hon. Gentleman read the next three lines?


I will certainly read them: This Sub-section shall not apply in the case of any advertisement made, issued or published before the date on which the Order was made. That only anticipates something I was going to refer to later on. The point under that is that the Committee, in reporting on this question of advertisements, seem to suggest that the position would be met if a certain formula were adopted in the advertisement, but the people concerned can now get no guarantee that they will be protected if in fact such a form of advertisement be used. I cannot think that the interruption of the President of the Board of Trade just now means that he wants to suggest to the traders concerned that before this Order comes in they should proceed to print multitudes of advertisements so that they will have a stock to last them for years in order to avoid the Act. Surely, that was not the spirit behind him in putting this Act on the Statute Book. It seems to me that he ought to have been trying, in the formulation of his Order, to arrive at a solution of the difficulty of these people. Yet what has happened? I understand that there have been communications with the Board of Trade. The Board of trade officials replied to the people in question, saying that personally they agreed with the interpretation given in the Committee's Report and that, if any question arose upon it, the Board of Trade themselves would not initiate any proceedings. But that overlooks entirely the fact that the particular trader would not then be protected from any information laid by the common informer. On a purely technical point like this advertisement point, no one can say in the case of a tyre company that it would not be open at any time to a rival tyre company to take proceedings against them and cause them all this trouble and expense, which is quite unnecessary, because, in the case of tyres, everybody in this country would recognise that the Michelin, Goodyear and Firestone tyres are made in other countries as well as in this.

Time has gone much more quickly than I thought and I want to keep my pledge to the House not to keep them too long. I feel that we have a very strong case, and I do not want to spoil it by wearying their patience. I would like to add that the people concerned have taken counsel's opinion upon this matter, and they feel very strongly that it ought to be the duty of the Board of Trade, in interpreting this Act of Parliament, to see if a formula cannot be found to meet the case and to cover that particular point, so that traders may have proper protection. I believe that these traders want to carry out this Act with which I disagree, and it is only right that they should have reasonable protection in the matter. I do not wish to quote all the various inaccuracies which I have discovered in the various reports, and could very well place before the House, but I do want to say, in conclusion, that it seems to me highly regrettable that an Act of Parliament which is based upon a Bill first introduced into this House to deal with one commodity, an agricultural commodity, eggs, in respect of which the Committee which has inquired into that commodity has failed to recommend that the Act be applied—hon. Members know that the Act does rely upon the case of that one commodity—is now being applied to the serious detriment and great harassment of multitudinous trades upon which this country depends for its commercial success. I have a connection, as the House knows, with a trading organisation which deals with a very wide range of commodities, and about every other day we receive communications at my office informing us that there is to be a new inquiry under the Merchandise Marks Act into some new commodity. If we were to claim the only right that we have in the matter of appearing with due evidence and in proper form before those Committees, those paid Committees, upon every commodity which is now the subject of an inquiry, the organisation headquarters with which I am connected would be engaged on nothing else from the beginning of the year to the end in opposing these hampering orders with respect, to marks. It seems to me that that is an impossible position for the trade and industry of this country to face, and I hope that those Members of this House not only on this side but those on the other side who are engaged in so many different businesses in this country will see eye to eye with me and oppose this Order.


I am sorry that this has become a party matter and that we cannot by reasoned arguments to-night change the vote of the House; but I do think that it is useful to have such a Debate as this and that the House ought to he grateful to my hon. Friend, the representative of the co-operative movement, for bringing this matter forward. This is another instance of the way in which this Government, who on countless platforms tell of their desire to help trade, deliberately hinder trade in this country. There is no business man connected with any of the businesses affected by this Order who would not say "No, thank you" to the Government for making this Order. I am talking of business men concerned in dealing with these particular articles affected by this Order, the people who are dealing in tyres, in woven labels, in art wire, in wire netting, in staples. Those people are being inconvenienced by the Government; a Government which lays itself out to be helping trade. They are being seriously inconvenienced in the interests of a Government which is professedly desirous of protecting British industry.

11.0 p.m.

My chief objection against this sort of Order is that they are thoroughly and fundamentally hypocritical. The Government and hon. Members opposite who are trying to excuse this sort of Order, say: "You must protect the purchaser. He must know what he is buying." Hon. Members in this House who are purchasers, and there may be some, know perfectly well when they buy goods what they are buying. If they do not know, they would go into bankruptcy and not into the House of Commons. We must allow even a Conservative Government a certain amount of intelligence, yet they bring forward this Measure to protect the buyer, knowing perfectly well that what they are seeking to do is to make it a little more expensive and a little more difficult to import foreign manufactured goods into this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad to hear that applause. I wish hon. Members who hold that point of view would persuade the Government to be frank and deal with the problem on that line. It would have the advantage of bringing some revenue into the coffers of the Exchequer instead of imposing further difficulties and expense upon trade.

The particular company whose interests I have at heart at the present moment is the Michelin Tyre Company. I know hon. Members opposite will laugh; and I must inform my friends that the capital is French. Therefore they are outside the pale. The Michelin Tyre Company have put up a factory in Stoke-on-Trent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I do not care whose capital is used because my people in Stoke-on-Trent get employment. A Measure such as this, which interferes with the prosperity and production o that company, which hampers them in their advertising and methods of carrying on business, cannot possibly be m the interests of British trade anywhere or of my constituents in particular. Hon, Members in this House are always willing to denounce bureaucracy on the public platform. They all say, "We want no State interference with private enterprise."


Hear, hear!


I hope we shall have the vote of the hon. Member against this Order, because you could not have a more flagrant case of bureaucratic interference with private enterprise. Honest protection I can understand, but this sort of niggling interference with private enterprise, based on the hypothetical idea that it will make it easier for British trade by forcing people to put foreign labels on imports, I cannot understand. [An HON. MEMBER: "The importer pays! "] I did not think it was necessary to explain that the consumer pays for these things. I am sorry to have to touch on that elementary principle. This additional expense falls on the consumer and no revenue accrues to the public exchequer. The Measure was brought in solely in order to save the face of the President of the Board of Trade, who was dragged into the introduction of this Act two years ago in the interests of the agricultural producers of eggs.

Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

The Mover and Seconder of this Prayer ask the House to annul the draft Order-in-Council made by the President of the Board of Trade and laid before Parliament under Section 7 of the Merchandise Marks Act of 1926. It is quite natural that both the Mover and Seconder should keep up their opposition to the original Measure to the bitter end. One might say that the House will probably admire their consistency, but what we cannot admire is the mental incapacity which compels them to draw such false conclusions. What is the procedure which has brought us to the present stage? Under Section 2 of the Act application for marking has to be made to the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade must be satisfied that the application comes from a substantially interested party before the matter can be referred to a Committee of Inquiry. The Board of Trade have also to be satisfied that the manufacturers, producers, dealers, traders, users, consumers or wage-earners are substantially affected. Notices of such reference to the Committee have to be published in the "Gazette," and no inquiry can be commenced until 28 days from the date of publication. The Committee, when it is set up, as the hon. Member knows, meets generally in public. Its duties are to hear all the persons' representing the interests substantially affected. Incidentally, I would say that the Board of Trade advertise the fact that the Committee is to sit. They give the date and the times of the sittings.


Does anyone represent the consumers?


If they are substantially affected they can make application. If the right hon. and gallant Member buys sufficient Michelin tyres to warrant the suggestion that he is substantially interested, he will in all probability be heard at the inquiry. The Board of Trade advertise the fact that the Committee is to sit. They send notice to the Press and all the trade journals and they inform the leading chambers of commerce and trade organisations in the country. The Committee then gives consideration to the question whether or not indication of origin can be effectively applied without injury to the goods, and they recommend the form, if any, which such mark should take. Finally, they recommend the date upon which the Order for such marking should come into force. After the Report is made it must be printed and must be freely obtainable. The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) a few days ago said that he had not been able to obtain copies of this Order. I think they were obtainable in the Vote Office at the time, and I obtained one for him. In any case he could have obtained the Order in the same way from the Vote Office or the Stationery Office.


Can we have the constitution of the Committee?


Certainly. Notice of the making of the Report must also be published in the "Gazette." In fact full publicity of every kind is given to the Committee. The Board of Trade must satisfy themselves that the indication of origin will not be prejudicial to traders in this country or in the Dominions. Finally, a copy of the draft Order is laid before Parliament for approval. After all these provisions there is still a further loophole of escape for those who are not satisfied. Under Section 3 of the Act application can be made to the Board of Trade for the modification or annulment of the Order. Section 3 reads: If, where an Order-in-Council has been made under this Act … it is shown … that the application of the provisions of the Order or of some of those provisions … has caused or is likely to cause hardship "— Then it proceeds to enact that the Government may direct that the Order, or any particular provision of the Order, shall cease to apply or shall be modified as the case may be. I ask what further safeguards could possibly be instituted?


May I point out that in the case of a very large number of businesses, not only the one with which I am connected but large houses, it has been found necessary to keep standing counsel, who are employed every month in the year examining these applications.


If that be true—I cannot say that it is—it only shows the popularity of this Measure, when so many people apply to come under it. As the hon. Member for Hillsborough has said, this is the first draft Order made under the 1926 Act, and all the conditions and Regulations laid down and all its provisions have been rigidly complied with. This Order says, in effect, that subject to the approval of Parliament it shall not be lawful after certain specified dates to sell or expose for sale in the United Kingdom any of the "following imported goods" unless they bear the mark of the country of origin. The hon. Member himself has gone through the list. He said there were eight recommendations, hut the first seven deal with sale or exposure for sale. They are not marked on import, and when the hon. Member referred as he did to the great deal of work entailed at the ports of the country, he was not, I hope, referring to the first seven articles in the Order but only to the one case of motor tyres. What are the arguments brought to bear by hon. Members in favour of annulment. I have not heard a word in disapproval of the publicity. A question has been asked about the constitution of the Committee, but I have not heard any hon. Member finding fault with the constitution of the Committee. In fact, I believe the hon. Member for Hillsborough has given his approval of the constitution of the Committee.


indicated dissent.


The hon. Member shakes his head. When the Board of Trade Estimates were before the House on 25th July, the hon. Member was talking about the constitution of the Committees under the Safeguarding of Industries Act. He said: Looking back over the Members who have been appointed to these Committees it would seem that they have not been the type of person likely to be able to come to a really judicial judgment. That is what he said of the Committee under the Safeguarding of Industries Act. Then he went on: Under the Merchandise Marks Act there has been a rather better procedure adopted, and in the case of the chairmen, at any rate, they have generally been of a character likely to lead to a proper judicial inquiry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 35th July, 1927; col. 900, Vol. 209.] If these words had been used by an hon. Member on this side of the House I might not have considered it great praise, but coming from the hon. Member, who so strongly opposed this Act, I think we could not have stronger words in support of the judicial nature of the inquiry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Of the Chairman!"] The judicial nature of the Committee of the inquiry. An hon. Member has asked what is the constitution of the Committee? If the hon. Member will get the Order he will find exactly what is the constitution of the Committee. The names are: Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith, Mr. G. N. Barnes, who was a Member of this House for some considerable time, and Mr. F. It. Davenport, who has also a great reputation for impartiality in connection with these matters. Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith is an old civil servant, and I am sure the hon. Member for Hillsborough would be the last to accuse him of any impartiality of any kind. The hon. Member for Hillsborough, talking about delays at the ports, read from page 4 of the Report in connection with tyres and said: The evidence indicated that the great bulk of imported motor and motor cycle covers and tubes are already branded with the name or mark of the makers, and he argued from that that it was not necessary to have any mark on importation, but if he had read the remaining lines he would have seen that it said: There was, however, general agreement among the parties that there is some sale in the United Kingdom for cycle covers and tubes unmarked either with the manufacturer's name or trade mark or with an indication of origin. In any case the Michelin Tyre Company has been referred to, and the right hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has said that 5,000 of his constituents have been found work in Stoke, and when he realises that the works of that company will be large enough to find employment for 10,000 British workpeople making tyres which were previously made by French workmen, surely he will appreciate the advantages which he and his constituents are obtaining from this Act.


The advantages they are getting are land for nothing and no rates to pay on the buildings.


I understand the municipality of Stoke were so anxious to find work for the people who are out of work there—more anxious than the right hon. Member—that they allowed the Michelin Tyre Company to come there on very advantageous terms. The point in connection with marking is this: The right hon. Gentleman opposite has quoted Michelin tyres which at present are made both in this country and abroad, and he would desire that there should be no marking at all of Michelin tyres. If there were no marking of them, it would be quite impossible for the people of this country to know whether they were purchasing foreign-made or British-made articles. May I make it plain that those made in Stoke need have no mark of origin on at all, but only those that come from abroad. After the speech of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, it seems hardly necessary for anybody on this side to defend the Order. He said that we would hamper trade by this marking. Well, we may hamper trade by the marking of these goods, but what we are not doing is hampering British trade. We are assisting British trade and assisting to find work for British workpeople.

The hon. Member for Hillsborough raised the question of advertisements in connection with tyres, and said quite rightly that, under Clause 5, Subsection (2), advertisements must bear an indication of origin, but as my right hon. Friend pointed out to him, this does not apply to advertisements already in existence before the Order was passed, before to-night. It does not apply still to-night. Manufacturers of tyres and other articles have plenty of opportunity of getting plenty of printing done before this Order comes into operation, but the chief objection to this particular advertising Clause came from the Firestone people who, as far as I know, have never manufactured tyres in this country, and as far as I know do not intend to do so. No wonder such a firm objected to mark tyres. As far as the other firms are concerned, I believe they are quite satisfied with the statement made by the Board of Trade to the effect that it is not necessary to have on these advertisements any detail with regard to origin. It is quite sufficient to say in advertisements that may be put out in connection with any goods that the manufacturer has factories in France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Canada, or wherever their factories are. The hon. Member fairly points out that although the Board of Trade will not take action if such wording as that is placed on the advertisement, he said, "How about the common informer?" It is unlikely that the common informer will take the case to Court when he knows that the Board of Trade, in their opinion, are interpreting the law correctly when they say that it is not actionable to have those words on the advertisement. In any case, even a common informer is liable to costs, and if he loses his case a first time, he is not likely to repeat the charge against any particular firm.


In principle, it ought to be made quite clear right through our trade legislation so that a trader ought to know whether he is really committing an offence or not.


Legal decisions are given. It is not for a Government Department to interpret the law. We give advice, not interpretations. The Law Courts are there for that purpose, and, if anybody has any doubts about the interpretation of the law, they can have their test case at law—


And find work for the lawyers!


And, incidentally, find work for at any rate one Member of the party opposite. I do not think there were any other questions addressed to me from any other quarter of the House. In conclusion, may I say that this Order has already stimulated the purchase of British goods, and a large number of applications are already in for hearing before the Courts of Inquiry. That is an indication that the trading community of this country are appreciating the provisions of this Act.


Iron and steel?


The hon. Gentleman did not raise the question of iron and steel. As a matter of fact, iron and steel does not come under the provisions of this Order, but, if the hon. Member will see me privately, I will give him a full explanation as to why the iron and steel inquiry is not included. It would be out of order for me to refer to it at this moment. British citizens will in future know the difference between British and foreign goods. That is what they have demanded for some considerable time, and they will now have an opportunity of knowing what goods are British and what goods are foreign. I would ask the House not to pass this Motion for annulment of the draft Order, which Order, if confirmed, will become an Order-in Council and will be essential if this Act is going to become, as we all believe it will become, a great success for the trading community and for the people of this country.


May I ask whether, from paragraph 21 of this Order, we are to understand that the articles referred to are not to be marked before importation? If that be the case, will the hon. Gentleman explain how it will be possible for the factory to mark gold leaf after it his been imported?


It is quite clear that the Committee which investigated this matter are of opinion that gold leaf can be marked, not every sheet of gold leaf, but the book which contains the gold leaf. Had it not been perfectly practicable for people who are selling gold leaf to mark the gold leaf before sale it is not likely the Committee would have made the recommendation. I will repeat once more that under Section 3 of the Act if there is any dissatisfaction with any Order there is still provision for an application being made to the Board of Trade for a modification of the Order.


I do not intend to keep the House more than a few minutes, but I would remind hon. Members that this particular method of presenting a Prayer to His Majesty is the only protection that the public and consumers have in this matter. We wanted to strengthen the provision, but we were assured by the President of the Board of Trade that we should have ample opportunity, at any rate on the first Order, to discuss it in the House. I am interested to see that the President is sheltering behind the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade. We are very glad to see that hon. Gentleman in his new position. We were certain that he would fill it with dignity, and certainly he has given ns a correct history of the introduction of the Act and the procedure to be followed, but I am surprised that the parent of this Act and the Parliamentary Secretary, who gave many weeks to this Actr—


I have so often replied to the hon. Member that I thought he would want to hear another Minister.


The Minister who has answered is in charge of overseas trade, and I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that the provisions of almost all these Orders are so framed that they do not apply to any extent to overseas trade, because they have omitted the need for marking these articles on importation. This matter directly concerns the home trade and industry as a whole. Many months were spent on this Act; what is the result? Most of the articles affected are articles of trade. The Minister made a great point of the fact that these articles concern the trading community only and will not directly affect the public as a whole. But they will affect the public by the increase in the price of certain articles which have to be used in manufacturing processes. Gold and silver leaf, for example, are used in the manufacture of many other articles, among other things, books. At present it is not sold direct to the public, but, as the inquiry showed, inevitably the results of these provisions will be to add to the cost of this raw material of industry. Take, again, felt hat hoods. I heard the Minister brush aside as a small problem the law costs that this Order will necessitate. I notice in the report on felt hat hoods that the committee of inquiry, point out that the actual interpretation of these provisions must inevitably lead to costs in the law Courts. That cannot help trade. A. very important centre of industry like Luton will be seriously affected by these provisions, and, whatever the decision of the committee may be, it is not going to help Luton. If you insist upon marking felt manufactured articles, it is bound to increase the cost.

It is proposed to tax brass water taps and fittings, and that is bound to add considerably to the cost of bar fittings. Many purchasers are quite ignorant of the country of origin of these particular goods, and you will only add to the cost of them by insisting on them being branded. Another article dealt with was woven labels, and in this case the public will not be protected at all. The public will not be enlightened, and the only people who will be affected will be those engaged in the trade, because these labels are used in the manufacture of certain garments of wear. The articles I have mentioned are only the predecessors of hundreds of other articles to be treated in the same way, and every little industry will find itself treated in this way by a side door. The inevitable effect of this policy must be to add to the cost. We have no guarantee in these inquiries that the general public will be represented, and the number of articles to be dealt with is likely to be so numerous that it will be found impossible for all the people concerned to go to the expense of stating their case against the proposed mark or brand. I support this Prayer, because I believe the policy which has been adopted by the Government will have the effect of hampering British industry by the operation of this Act. The course which has been adopted is that of hearing the evidence on one side, and then it is left to the opponents of the proposal to prove that it is going to do harm to industry. For that reason, we should take this early opportunity to make it clear that, for the protection of British trade and of the users of the articles as to which inquiry is made, the recommendations should be most closely scrutinised.


I represent, I hope, that section of honest traders who may be affected by this Order in Council when it becomes operative. I am not going to argue its merits or demerits, but would like to ask the Minister in charge one or two questions as it affects my trade and the way in which I earn my living when I am not in this House. On page 7 of the proposed Order, sub-paragraph (6) of paragraph 20 says: Nothing in this Order shall apply to solid or semi-solid rubber tires. May I ask the Minister if solid rubber tyres to be fitted to a cart-wheel come within this provision? The rubber tyre for a cart-wheel of a particular size is neither round nor square, but subparagraph (b) mentions that the maximum diameter is to be an inch and a-quarter. Recently, when I got home to the forge, I found a pair of wheels that needed new rubber tyres. Some other repairs were needed, and I sent them to Leeds. I rang up the firm with whom I do business, and asked them to put a pair of good rubber tyres on those wheels. They asked what kind of tyres I wanted, and I said I was not particular so long as they were good. When they come back, they will, perhaps, be an inch and an eighth in diameter one way, but the other way they will be something like an inch and a-half in diameter. Which diameter is to be taken under subparagraph (b) of paragraph 20 of this proposed Order? I am not arguing the merits, but I want help in my particular difficulty as a tradesman, because the tradesman wants the Minister to tell him, if possible, how he is to keep within the law. Again, I am ordering that pair of tyres, not for myself, but for a customer. If this Order comes into operation, will the firm who supply me with them be responsible for having them marked, if they are not English, or shall I be responsible when I sell them to my customer? I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary is smiling, and well he may, but a good many people will be in a difficulty, as I am, on these questions, and we want to set some kind of example. I would like the Minister in charge to answer the questions I have put.


I can assure the hon. Member that he is not in the least likely to go to gaol; though if he persists in the practice of putting perambulator tyres on to large farm carts—

Division No. 438.] AYES. [11.45 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Naylor, T. E.
Ammon, Charles George Grundy, T. W. Oliver, George Harold
Bromfield, William Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Palin, John Henry
Charleton, H. C. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Paling, W.
Cowan, D. M (Scottish Universities) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Crawfurd, H. E. Harris, Percy A. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Dalton, Hugh Hayday, Arthur Potts, John S.
Day, Colonel Harry Hayes, John Henry Riley, Ben
Duncan, C. Hirst, G. H. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
Dunnico, H. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Sitch, Charles H.
Fenby, T. D. John, William (Rhondda, West) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Gardner, J. P. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Sullivan, Joseph
>Gibbins, Joseph Lindley, F. W. Thomson. Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)
Gillett, George M. Lunn, William Tinker, John Joseph
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mackinder, W. Townend, A. E.

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will treat with proper respect the question which I put to him. I asked him whether solid or semi-solid rubber tyres include rubber tyree for cart wheels. A simple "Yes" or "No" is all that I want.


I was just telling the hon. Member. What are exempted are solid or semi-solid rubber tyres or tyres generally known as perambulator tyres. Let his mind grasp the whole of that picture. What is excluded is the perambulator tyre. I have known the hon. Member in his capacity of politician and, long before, in his capacity of wheelwright, and I think he is a much better wheelwright than a politician. In any case, it is the gentleman who sells him a tyre that requires marking who is in danger. If the hon. Member puts a tyre on a cart which he is selling, then he is selling the cart and not the tyre, so he will be perfectly safe in pursuing his political and other avocations.


Before I put the Question to the House, I should like to say a word to safeguard myself. This is the first of what may be a series of Orders, and, for that reason, I have allowed a latitude which is perhaps beyond the strict letter of the law. Hon. Members have been discussing a great deal of the Act itself and not simply the administration of the Act. On future occasions, it will be necessary for the Chair to keep the Debate rather more closely to the point.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 67; Noes, 199.

Varley, Frank B. Whiteley, W. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen. Wiggins, William Martin Windsor, Walter
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne) Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Williams, David (Swansea, East) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly) Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. W. Hirst
Welsh, J. C.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Moreing, Captain A. H.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Goff, Sir Park Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Albery, Irving James Gower, Sir Robert Nelson, Sir Frank
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Grace, John Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Grant, Sir J. A. Nuttall, Ellis
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Greene, W. P. Crawford Oakley, T.
Apsley, Lord Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Atholl, Duchess of Grotrian, H. Brent Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Atkinson, C. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Penny, Frederick George
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gunston, Captain D. W. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Balniel, Lord Hacking, Douglas H. Perring, Sir William George
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Red.) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Davon, Barnstaple)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hammersley, S. S. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Hanbury, C. Power, Sir John Cecil
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pownall, Sir Assheton
Betterton, Henry B. Harland, A. Price, Major C. W. M.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hartington, Marquess of Radford, E. A.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Raine, Sir Walter
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ramsden, E.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Haslam, Henry C. Remer, J. R.
Briscoe, Richard George Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Remnant, Sir James
Brittain, Sir Harry Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hills, Major John Waller Salmon, Major I.
Buchan, John Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Burman, J. B. Holt, Capt. H. P. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtimth.S.) Hopkins, J. W. W. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Sandon, Lord
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Savery, S. S.
Christie, J. A. Hume, Sir G. H. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Hurd, Percy A. Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Cobb, Sir Cyril Iveagh, Countess of Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Jephcott. A. R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Colman, N. C. D. Kennedy. A. R. (Preston) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Cope, Major William Kindersley, Major Guy M. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Courtauld, Major J. S. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Lamb, J. Q. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Templeton, W. P.
Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Little, Dr. E. Graham Tinne, J. A.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Loder, J. de V. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Davies, Dr. Vernon Long, Major Eric Waddington, R.
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Looker, Herbert William Wallace, Captain D. E.
Dawson, Sir Philip Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Lumley, L. R. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dixey, A. C. Lynn, Sir R. J. Wayland, Sir William A.
Drewe, C. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Wells, S. R.
Edmondson, Major A. J. MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Macdonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Ellis, R. G. McLean, Major A. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Macmillan, Captain H. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Everard, W. Lindsay Macnaghtan, Hon. Sir Malcolm Wolmer, Viscount
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. MacRobert, Alexander M. Womersley, W. J.
Fermoy, Lord Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Fielden, E. B. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Ford, Sir P. J. Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Fraser, Captain Ian Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Frece, Sir Walter de Milne, J. S. Wardlaw- TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Captain Viscount Curzon and Captain
Galbraith, J. F. W. Moore, Sir Newton J. Margesson.
Ganzoni, Sir John Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.

The remaining Government Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after Half-past Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Order of the House of 8th November.

Adjourned at ten minutes before Twelve o'clock.