asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider introducing legislation amending the Merchandise Marks Acts so that toothpaste manufacturers and others have to substantiate statements made on their behalf in advertisements in order that the public interest may be safeguarded.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, with the best will in the world, it is rather hard to believe that he wants to do anything in the matter? Is he aware that some two years ago when I raised this matter with him he was unable to bring a case because he thought that the evidence was not sufficient for his solicitors to work on? Now that we have put the matter the other way round and asked for the manufacturers to prove their claims, the right hon. Gentleman is still adamant. Can he suggest any way to make progress?
In this case of an advertisement which claims that if a certain toothpaste were used it would not be necessary to brush one's teeth so often, I am informed that it would take five years of clinical tests to see whether the claim was justified. I do not think that that is something which we should do.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am not referring only to the brushing of teeth or to one claim but to the whole matter? Can he not stop avoiding the issue and see whether something can be done?