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I support the argument advanced from the Opposition Front Bench by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) on the inherent ambiguity in paragraph (b). The precise meaning of the paragraph is far from clear. It is for the Minister to explain precisely what interpretation should be placed upon it. One cannot help feeling that this is yet another example of a rather hasty reaction to the unhappy events of last summer. First, there was the hasty production of a White Paper, which was followed by the hasty production of the Bill. I think that it is fair to say that the Bill has had hardly a friend in the House as it has proceeded through its various stages.
Secondly, it is obviously necessary that some consideration be given to ensuring that the persons who may be approved, in addition to the two proof houses, are gunsmiths located throughout the United Kingdom. It would be especially onerous, for example, if someone living in the far north of Scotland were unable to take a weapon to Inverness, Aberdeen or somewhere of that description to have the necessary work done to it, and instead had to ensure that the weapon was sent either to Birmingham or London.
I hope that the Minister will find it possible to respond to the invitation to provide more detail on precisely what sort of person the Secretary of State has in mind and the geographical distribution that he will be prepared to approve.