HC Deb 20 December 1888 vol 332 cc883-4

had the following Question on the Paper:—To ask the Postmaster General, If he will reciprocate the conduct of Foreign Postal Authorities, by allowing paid letters of all kinds to follow the addresses in the United Kingdom without further charge; if he will cause the many communications on public business which are addressed to Members of Parliament at the House of Commons to be re-addressed and delivered without further charge for postage; and, if he will cause the sums due from right hon. Members of the House for arrears of postage on re-ad- dressed letters to be collected, so that all Members of the House may have equal treatment in this respect?


This Question has been on the Paper six or seven times, and it is desirable to answer it. As regards ordinary letters passing through the post from place to place in this country, I am unable to see any reason why they should escape the ordinary postal rate when re-directed and transmitted a second time to a different address. The second service entails on the Department at least as great, if not greater, trouble than the first. Letters from abroad, in similar cases, are relieved from a second charge by the Rules of the Postal Union. Several years have elapsed since Members of this House renounced the exceptional privilege of franking. I do not think it desirable to re-establish this in any form; and I do not believe that the majority of Members of this House desire to receive more favourable treatment for their correspondence than that accorded to their constituents. I am not aware of any case in which any Member of this House has successfully evaded the surcharge upon re-directed letters or papers; but if the hon. Member will supply me with any instance of this, I will inquire into it, and take steps to prevent the recurrence of any such evasion.