§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)
asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been directed to the imperfect way in which the duty of re-directing the letters of Members which are sent, in the first instance, to the House of Commons is at present performed; and, whether he will give instructions that this work shall be more efficiently discharged during the Recess?
THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKKS) (Cambridge University)
The short Notice which the hon. Member has given has prevented me from making so full an inquiry into the matter as I should have desired; but I may, nevertheless, state with confidence that I have no reason to think that the duty of re-directing Members' letters from the House is imperfectly or carelessly performed, but that the contrary is the case. In order to prevent delay, letters which have to be 1355 re-directed are not sent to the House, but are dealt with, in the District Post Office by the postal staff of the House, with such assistance as may be necessary; and I am informed that, on an average, 3,000 letters a-day are thus re-directed, the number sometimes exceeding 5,000. The work appears to be done so carefully that I am assured that no written complaint of an error in re-directing has been received during the present Session, and only one personal complaint. This was from the hon. Member himself about a month ago. He was then requested to furnish the covers of the letters stated to have been incorrectly treated, with a view to inquiry; but this he has not done. I may remind the House that there are three other Members whose names are similar to that of the hon. Member, although two of them are not spelt in the same way; and it is, of course, possible that an obscurely-addressed letter may have been sent to the wrong person; but there is no evidence of this.
§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that two letters addressed to Mr. W. M. M'Arthur, M.P., have been received by me recently, and that I frequently receive letters intended for the Lord Advocate, while he receives letters intended for me; also, that two letters received for me at the House of Commons were sent to the Constitutional Club? Perhaps my experience in this respect may be peculiar.
§ MR. ANSTRUTHER (St. Andrew's, &c.)
stated that on more than one occasion his letters had been re-directed to the Members whose names were next to his above and below in Vacher's Parliamentary Guide.
§ MR. RAIKES
I think it is possible that the letters referred to may have been re-directed at some other office, and not by the staff in the House.