HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 cc1504-5
Q2. Mr. Faulds

asked the Prime Minister if he will recommend setting up a Royal Commission to investigate the problem of injuries sustained by children from fireworks and to propose the changes in legislation consequential upon its findings.

The Prime Minister

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) on 6th November. —[Vol. 790, c. 166.]

Mr. Faulds

I thank my right hon. Friend for that pretty imprecise answer. Does he not recognise that there is mounting concern throughout the country at the annual toll of fireworks casualities as evidenced by Members' postbags? Will he reconsider his answer and the other answer?

The Prime Minister

If my hon. Friend does not find enough precision there he may have found precision in the answers given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Home Office to Questions earlier this afternoon. The concern to which my hon. Friend has referred is shared by my hon. Friend at the Home Office. It is for that reason, as stated in my answer, that my hon. Friend's Department is calling a meeting of all those concerned with manufacturing and other aspects of the safety question as soon as it is possible to analyse the 1969 casualty figures.

Dr. Winstanley

Is not a criticism of this House that so many people can still quietly set fire to their children and grandmothers on 5th November? Since Royal Commissions take time, and it is clear that the recommendations of commissioners, both royal and otherwise, are not invariably implemented, would it not be wiser to allow the House to come to its own conclusions?

The Prime Minister

My experience of participating in family fireworks parties suggests that the hon. Member has missed out a generation. I do not think that a Royal Commission is the answer. I believe that all the facts that can be found will be found when the 1969 figures are analysed and added to the analysis for previous years, and that the right answer —in the first instance, at any rate—is for my right hon. Friend's proposal to be followed up and for us to have meetings of all the manufacturing and other interests concerned.

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