HC Deb 05 March 1888 vol 323 cc174-5
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 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.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Groome is one of the most active Liberals in the district?


No, Sir; I am not aware of that.