HC Deb 05 June 1945 vol 411 cc663-4
22. Mr. Murray

asked the President of the Board of Trade when mothers in the Spennymoor Division will be able to purchase babies soothers; is he aware that some months ago hon. Members were assured that supplies would be available in the shops, and up to the present time none has been available to retailers or the general public.

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Member is perhaps under a misapprehension, and is confusing soothers with teats. I have every sympathy with him. Soothers, however, are a means of deception to which, in view of the imminence of the General Election and the present scarcity of rubber, His Majesty's Government cannot lend themselves. The assurances that he, no doubt, has in mind were given in respect of teats, and have been carried out.

Mr. Murray

Is the Minister aware that his answer makes the position still more ridiculous? It does happen to be a question of teats. I have a letter saying that a woman has given birth to twins, and that she is unable to feed these two children. She has four bottles in the house, with one teat. [Laughter.] Hon. Members need not laugh. They ought to be in the homes of some of these people. Is the Minister aware that I saw these two children yesterday, and the mother told me that she had to scrape the teat of the bottle before she could feed the other children? What is the Minister going to do about a thing like that?

Mr. Lyttelton

The point of my answer is that the Board of Trade are releasing rubber for teats. We cannot adopt the same attitude with regard to soothers. If there are any cases where teats are in short supply, we shall be glad to look into them.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the statement that babies soothers are intended for deceptive purposes, will they be part of the equipment of the Tory Party at the General Election?