HC Deb 23 June 1893 vol 13 cc1776-7

I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he will explain on what grounds circulars and postcards arriving in this country from traders, lottery agents, and others on the Continent, if directed to a place of residence which has been given up by the addressee, are re-directed and delivered free by the British Post Office, the whole of the postage on which circulars is retained by the Governments of the countries of origin, and in respect of which the English Post Office does all the work without remuneration; while the British Post Office refuses to re-direct and deliver free circulars and postcards from merchants and traders in this country, the whole of the postage on which is received by the British Government; whether he will give instructions to allow our countrymen the same advantages as are enjoyed by foreigners in this respect; and whether he is aware that a British postman frequently delivers free a re-addressed letter posted in this country, but is instructed to demand a fine for the delivery of a British circular re-addressed, and carried by him in the same bundle, or bag, with the letter referred to?


The free redirection in this country of postal packets of all kinds received from abroad is one of the obligations assumed by the Post Office of the United Kingdom under the Postal Union Convention, and I may point out that it is our own countrymen, and not foreigners, as suggested in the question, who are thus exempted from charge, although foreigners, of course, benefit from the reciprocal arrangements which apply abroad to correspondence sent out from this country. I stated only a few nights ago, in reply to the hon. Member for Peterborough, that I could not see my way to depart from the decision of the late Government confining the free redirection of inland postal packets to letters. In regard to the last question of the hon. Member, it must, of course, be the case that re-directed letters, on which no charge is made, and re-directed circulars for the same address, which are liable to charge, are sometimes found in the hands of the same postman.


I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to re-consider his decision to take away that right with regard to the re-direction of letters which Members of this House and the public generally have hitherto enjoyed.