§ MR. A. ALLEN (Christchurch)
To ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are in the Post Office branches of the Tariff Reform League and the Free 509 Trade Union; whether those organisations are regarded as being of a non-party character; and, if so, whether Post Office employees are entitled to take part publicly in the work of these organisations without contravening the regulations as to non-interference in party politics.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) In Interpreting the regulations which state that Post Office servants as Civil Servants ought to exercise a certain reserve in political matters, I have adopted a uniform principle in dealing with the various societies to which my attention has been directed. There is no objection to the formation of societies, political and other, among Post Office servants, provided Post Office servants do not take a prominent or active part in political contests; but, in order that there may be no doubt as to the observance of this rule, it is not expedient that such societies should be specific branches of societies which take an active part in politics. In regard to the two organisations mentioned in the Question, I find on inquiry that the Free Trade Union, constituted by officers of the Post Office, is independent of, and is not a branch of the Free Trade Union. As regards the Tariff Reform League, constituted by officers of the Post Office, I understand that, though it is under separate management financially and otherwise, it is a branch of the Tariff Reform League. The attention of the secretary has been drawn to the matter, and I am awaiting a communication from him.