HC Deb 28 November 1957 vol 578 cc1270-1
37. Captain Pilkington

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the trades in which flick-knives are used.

43 and 44. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) the number of flick-knives imported into this country during this year, and the number from each of the respective countries of origin;

(2) what trades find it essential to have flick-knives available.

Sir D. Eccles

I understand that these knives are used by fishermen, seamen, farmers, butchers, cobblers, blacksmiths and electricians. Flick-knives are not separately distinguished in the trade statistics.

Captain Pilkington

Can my right hon. Friend say why ordinary knives cannot be used equally effectively in these trades? Could not they be kept in sheaths, and would they not be as effective? Also, does not he agree that on other considerations these knives are very undesirable?

Sir D. Eccles

I think that the answer to my hon. and gallant Friend is that some men have to work with one hand, that sometimes their hands are very cold, and that it is of real assistance to them to be able to flick out the blade.

Mr. Janner

Why has not the Minister answered my Questions? I asked in what trades it is essential to use these knives. What kind of inquiries is he making in the matter? Is he aware that an investigation was carried out in Leicester recently by the Leicester Mercury in which a blacksmith who had been in the trade for 40 years said he had never heard of these knives being used in Leicester or Leicestershire, and that they were not required? Is he also aware that the head of a cutlery firm stated that he had never heard of the use of these knives in any trade? Are they essential, or is murder to continue? Why did not the Minister answer my other Question? I asked from what countries these knives, these murderous weapons, were obtained. The right hon. Gentleman has not answered that at all. I now ask him to answer it.

Sir D. Eccles

I apologise for not answering that second point. The knives are imported from Western Germany and Italy. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's first point, I am informed that certain men in these industries find the knives essential. I suppose there are blacksmiths and blacksmiths. Also, the Sheffield cutlery trade does not make these knives, and so, probably, it does not know where they are used.