§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
asked the Postmaster General, Whether he is aware that, about four weeks ago, tenders were invited for running a mail cart from Higham Ferrers to Northampton on Sunday evenings, and from Northampton to Higham Ferrers on Monday mornings; whether Mr. Charles Groome, of Higham Ferrers, tendered to do the work, with a suitable horse, for £38; whether the surveyor inspected the horse, and pronounced him well 175 fitted for the work; whether, two days after, the tender of another man for £47 was accepted; whether Mr. Groome is a ratepayer of Higham Ferrers, has been for 15 years a member of the school board, has been for two years a waywarden for the parish, and is one of the election auditors for the borough; whether, when, some time ago, tenders were invited for carrying the mails daily from Northampton to Higham Ferrers, Mr. Groome's tender was rejected, and a tender £5 higher than his accepted; whether, in both cases, Mr. Groome offered as his bondsmen two of the most substantial ratepayers of the borough; and, whether he can state the reasons for which Mr. Groome's tender was declined and a higher tender accepted?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
It is the fact that the mail cart service referred to between Higham Ferrers and Northampton was thrown open to public tender a few weeks ago; that Mr. Groome tendered at £38 a-year; and that a higher tender than Mr. Groome's was accepted. No Postmaster General has ever held himself bound to accept the lowest or any tender; and in deciding to accept another tender than Mr. Groome's I considered I was making the best arrangement possible for a satisfactory performance of the service. In reference to the non-acceptance of a tender from Mr. Groome on a previous occasion, I find that Mr. Groome tendered with another person for the Northampton and Higham Ferrers daily service; but that preference was given to a tender of the same amount from a widow whose husband had held contracts from the Department for many years, and given much satisfaction.
§ MR. CHANNING
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Groome is one of the most active Liberals in the district?