My right hon. Friend is obliged to the hon. Member for drawing his attention to recent prosecutions in Lancashire for offences connected with mock auctions. My right hon. Friend has sent a reply to his letter. The House will have an opportunity to consider the whole matter when the Bill to be introduced by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Col. Beamish) is debated.
I have not yet received that letter. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in imposing heavy prison sentences and fines, a judge said that the mock auction was one of the most unhealthy swindles that has come about? Can he explain why Mr. Gersham, who was fined £600 at Bournemouth, is still allowed to go on with the same technique every week in Petticoat Lane? Is he saying that it is illegal in Bournemouth and legal in Petticoat Lane, or is it that the Metropolitan Police are too warmhearted? Will he support the Bill brought in by the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Colonel Beamish) so as to put the matter beyond any reasonable doubt?
I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman has not received my right hon. Friend's letter. What the hon. Gentleman said in the latter part of his supplementary question points out the need for my hon. and gallant Friend's Bill, which I very much welcome.