§ MR. HOULDSWORTH
asked the Postmaster General, If he is aware that 418 a letter has been written by the Department to the "Ellesmere" and certain ohter Manchester clubs supplied with telegraphic news at "press rates," intimating that when they are prepared to inform the Department that the whole of the telephones are removed, and that no members of the club have telephones in cottages or houses in the neighbourhood of the club, the Department will then consider whether to place the club on the register; whether the telegraph instruments in the "Ellesmere" Club and other clubs were removed by the postal authorities until all the telephones were taken down; and, whether any distinction is made by the Postmaster General as to the clubs to which he will allow the press news to be supplied at "press rates," without restriction as to telephonic communication?
§ MR. FAWCETT
, in reply, said, it was lately found that a system prevailed in Manchester whereby racing news, telegraphed at Press rates to certain clubs, was retransmitted by telephone to various other clubs and persons. This was considered to be an abuse of the privilege by which news is telegraphed at a much lower rate than is charged for ordinary telegraphic messages; and the stops referred to by the hon. Member were accordingly taken. No distinction, is made in the treatment of different clubs.
§ MR. FAWCETT
I will wait until that question arises, because I have to act upon the decisions of the Law Courts. The telephone has been pronounced to be a telegraph, and the telegraphs have been bought up by the general taxpayers of the country.
§ MR. GRAY
The right hon. Gentleman did not catch my Question. The decisions of the Law Courts have nothing to do with private telephones. Will the right hon. Gentleman take legal opinion, as to whether he has the slightest right to interfere, as he has done, with private telephones for private purposes?