§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
About 6,700 copies of the consultative document on the control of firearms were distributed before 1st June 1973 and 1,600 copies have been distributed since then. There are 4,200 copies in stock. If there is a substantial rundown further copies will be printed.
§ Mr. Hardy
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Government erred in not producing enough copies of the document, and also in appearing to maintain their insistence that comments on it should be received before the end of June? Does he not agree that the announcement of an extension, on a Friday in answer to a Parliamentary Question when HANSARD was not published, is hardly a gracious way of reassuring those concerned about the comments and policies proposed in the document?
§ Mr. Baker
I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman's last point. The time span in which comments may be received is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. I cannot imagine where 24 the rumour began about a shortage in the number of documents available. There have been sufficient documents from the start. Over 12,000 copies were printed and there are still 4,000 in stock.
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
Does my hon. Friend appreciate that there is a general welcome for the democratic decision of his right hon. Friend to take full account of the many representations received within the extended period that he has allowed for this purpose?