HC Deb 20 July 1897 vol 51 c568

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the National Telephone Company insist upon their subscribers paying for the telephone service during the time (sometimes months) that there is practically no service whatever owing to some fault in the company's system; and, whether steps will be taken to protect the public from such extortion?


The subscribers of the National Telephone Company, equally with those of the Post Office, have to pay for their telephone notwithstanding the fact that the service may be interrupted owing to a fault in the system. The Postmaster General has no knowledge of any action on the part of the company which can be characterised by the term used by the hon. Member, and in any case it is a matter between the company and their subscribers, in which the Department is not in a position to intervene.


asked whether it was in order for an hon. Member to characterise by the use of the word "extortion" the state of facts mentioned in his Question?


The fact that the hon. Member thinks it is extortion, as I presume he does, would not make it in order to characterise the state of facts as such on the Paper, and it is not a proper phrase to use in a Question. ["Hear, hear!"]