§ MR. FIELD
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the fact that prior to the last open competitive examination for women clerkships in the General Post Office such examinations were held at fairly regular intervals, he will state what was the longest of such intervals during the ten years preceding the last examination; what interval has elapsed since the last examination; and will he state the reasons for the length of the last interval; will he also say whether the probability of its occurrence was notified in any way to candidates; whether it is intended to hold any such competitive examinations in future; and whether he will consider the propriety of making an allowance in respect of age to candidates, I now over age, who competed at previous examinations and who would have been eligible for subsequent examinations if such had been held at the same intervals as formerly.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Prior to the last examination for women clerkships which was held in October 1901, the number of vacancies was usually such as to justify the holding of an examination at intervals of about six months. I explained in reply to a Question on the 21st May ‡ that the reason why no examination had been held lately was that there were no vacancies to be filled by competition; it would not, I think, be desirable to alter† See (4) Debates, cxxii. 1637.‡ See (4) Debates, cxxii. 1350.1030 the limits of age for the next examination. The causes which made it unnecessary to hold an examination later than October 1901 were quite exceptional. It is intended to hold an open competitive examination during the ensuing autumn, and the exact date will be made known as soon as the necessary arrangements have been made.