HC Deb 17 March 1881 vol 259 c1249

asked the Postmaster General, If his attention has been called to the reports in various newspapers, to the effect that the telegraph clerks are dissatisfied with the interview which their delegates have had with him; and, whether, after hearing their grievances, he is prepared to remedy them, in accordance with the recommendations of influential memorialists from all parts of the United Kingdom?


Sir, I think the best way for me to answer the Question which has been addressed to me is to ask the permission of the House to state exactly what occurred at the interview referred to. Being very anxious to hear the telegraphists themselves, and the accounts of their alleged grievances, I asked them to select 12 representatives—seven males and five females—to come and see me on Tuesday last at the Post Office. When they came, I expressly asked them to speak to me without reservation, and they spoke to me without reservation. I gained much useful information; and at the end of that interview, which lasted more than five hours, they thanked me for the manner in which they had been received. Considering that on more than seven occasions during the present Session it has been necessary for me to trouble the House, by stating and re-stating that I would spare no effort to arrive at a fair conclusion, with the least delay possible, as to the complaints of the telegraphists, I cannot help expressing my surprise that the hon. Member for Plymouth (Mr. Macliver), within less than 48 hours after the interview has taken place to which I have referred, and before it was possible for me to read the voluminous shorthand notes which have been taken of it, should have thought proper to ask me the conclusions at which I have arrived.