asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to institute proceedings against a company, details of which he has been sent by the hon. Member for Swindon, which has been issuing fraudulent advertisements regarding the sale of carpets.
My right hon. Friend has no authority to give the Commissioner of Police any such instructions.
Is not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that this is a thoroughly unsatisfactory situation? Here is a most dishonest racket being perpetrated by fly-by-night carpet dealers who are advertising their goods under all sorts of misleading descriptions throughout the country. As I understand it, the only reason why they are not prosecuted is that they have no fixed business addresses. Will not the Minister of State have a word with his right hon. Friend and the Board of Trade to see whether this fraud can be stopped?
If any members of the public have any evidence of a fraudulent activity they should bring it to the notice of a chief officer of police. But this matter, so far as I have been able to find out, is not considered by the prosecuting authority to be of good foundation for the institution of proceedings. If the hon. Gentleman has any further information then, of course, the Commissioner would be glad to consider it.