HC Deb 06 June 1878 vol 240 cc1255-6

As the Postmaster General is not in his place, perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury will allow me to put to him a Question which has been some what mutilated in the printing. It is, Whether he is aware that the great delay in advertising for tenders for the Mail Service to the East, which is at present in the hands of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and soon to expire, is diminishing the chances of competition, and tending to continue the service in the hands of that Company; if he is aware that the Peninsular and Oriental Company is the chief of some associated Companies who by stringent rules among themselves are endeavouring to establish a monopoly of the carrying trade to India, and therefore not deserving of any special favour; and, whether, in the interests of the public service he will at once advertise for tenders for the Mail Service at present performed by the Peninsular and Oriental Company?


In answer to the hon. Member, I have to say that, of course, I am aware that the delays in these matters are of very serious import, and my endeavour has been as much as possible to minimize these delays. It is not within the knowledge of the Post Office that the Peninsular and Oriental Company is connected with any other Companies in the manner to which the hon. Member refers. The question of advertising for tenders has been, as I explained on a recent occasion, delayed in consequence of its being thought necessary to consult the Indian Government in regard to certain points in the new tenders. I telegraphed the other day for the purpose of expediting the answer from India; and I am assured, though I have not seen it, that the answer has arrived at the India Office, and will be at the Treasury tomorrow.