asked the President of the Board of Trade what reply he has sent to the letter recently received from the Principal of the Leathersellers' College admitting that he had made a mistake and that the gauntlets of the gloves submitted to him by his Department for expert examination were of sheepskin and not of hide.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the industry concerned is watching this matter with very great interest? Is he now informing the House that it is still the considered opinion of his Department that where gloves are advertised as being made wholly of hide, and where the experts of the industry and the experts of the Government agree that the gauntlets are made of sheepskin, there is no material false description?
I shall certainly consider any request made to me by any hon. Member on the subject of a deputation, but I would not like to commit myself until I have seen the request.
Is not this a case of the Board being in labour and producing a splinter? Would the Minister consider the wholly unsatisfactory situation arising from the administration of this Act, which means that the Board of Trade lays down the standard, the Board of Trade has to decide whether the standard has been infringed and the Board of Trade brings the case? Would it not be better to hand this matter over to the Director of Public Prosecutions and have an independent public investigation of the many cases which are being brought of breaches of this Act?
The hon. Member is wrong in his facts. Anyone can prosecute under the Act. As regards his implication that there are fewer prosecutions under the present Administration, I may point out that there were only two in the whole period of office of the late Government.