MR. CATHCART WASON
To ask the Postmaster-General if he is aware that Shetland was deprived of telegraphic communication with the outside world for a period of three weeks, suffering inconvenience thereby, and if the persons responsible for the delay in repairing the cable will be called to account; and whether an offer was made to the Post Office to repair the cable in twenty-four hours; and, if so, why such offer was not accepted.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) I am aware that telegraphic communication with Shetland has been interrupted, but there has been no avoidable delay in restoring it. When the break occurred the telegraph ship "Monarch" was on 167 her way to the Thames; after refitting she took in cable and sailed for the North on February 18th. Attempts to establish communication in the meantime by special electrical means through the broken cable had failed. The "Monarch" has encountered very stormy weather, and has therefore been unable to do any work. No offer to repair the cable has reached me. I am sorry for the inconvenience which has arisen; and I have endeavoured to minimise it by providing a special boat service for telegrams.